Editorial Review: Master of the Broken Watches by Razi Imam
Masters of the Broken Watches, by Razi Imam, blends myth, scientific discovery, and friendship for an optimistic mystery adventure across the globe.
The book is mostly a science fiction adventure, with the descriptive style of almost a travelogue, and a quiet love story in the background. Beautiful descriptions bring to life a Vietnamese fishing village, high-tech labs, an underground lake, a mysterious reef, and many other exotic locations. The science-fiction part of the story focuses on the discovery of a time particle with mysterious powers, a fish known as Isikhahti Isilwandle to the early Zulus. This time anomaly also connects with Mayan myth, creating the intriguing sense that what these characters have uncovered taps into both science and ancient knowledge. And throughout the book, the gentle love between a fisherman and his wife shines through.
At the beginning of the novel, Sebastian has studied evolution for years, risking his safety to collect samples and working nights to prove his hypothesis, but when his boss steals credit for the resulting discovery, he considers leaving research entirely. An old colleague reaches out with a surprising new opportunity, promising scientific inquiry with a warm spirit of collaboration and an intriguing specimen, and Sebastian finds himself on a team investigating the mysterious time particle.
This strange nodule was accidentally discovered by a village fisherman, who recognized the rarity immediately. Soon, the time particle begins to show six amazing powers, all connected with time. We’ve all felt time slow down in a boring meeting, or speed up with a good friend, haven’t we? And longtime teammates or close friends may be able to communicate without words. Masters of the Broken Watches encourages readers to imagine what could be done with mastery of these powers and others. Readers will be drawn into the story of discovery, and into dreaming about the kind of future this could create.
This spirit of cooperation helps to propel the story. This is a wide-ranging story, but at the heart is a team of researchers from various disciplines and cultural backgrounds collaborating to investigate the time particle, and then to keep it safe. There’s a strong respect from the main characters for one another’s abilities, whether that person is a Navy SEAL, a hacker, or a good cook. The author gives us a lovely look into what could be possible with this level of collaboration and mutual respect.
This isn’t just an optimistic science fiction daydream. Most of the villains in this novel were unpleasantly believable, motivated by greed, by anger or by a twisted patriotism. The credit-stealing boss explains that this is all for the good of the lab’s continued funding, a horribly realistic scenario in research and academia. Another character is a patrol captain who can’t lose face in front of his underlings, and takes a series of more and more dangerous risks. Although he’s clearly a villain, and makes life very difficult for our main characters, it’s still hard to not empathize with this very human failing.
This leads to a secondary theme in this story. Again and again, different characters are asked to follow direct orders that contradict their own morals and goals. How they react to this conflict between rules and morality, either by obeying, rebelling, or subterfuge, propels the story, just as much as the amazing scientific discovery does.
This is a page-turning sci-fi adventure that hints at so many possibilities.
Find more from this author here:
Author website - www.raziimam.com
Amazon - https://amzn.to/3aVETHJ
Goodreads - https://bit.ly/2DptrcM