cover image The Revisionists

The Revisionists

Thomas Mullen. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $25.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-17672-9

Mullen (The Last Town on Earth) explores the ethical implications of time travel in this excellent thriller set in the near future. After a megadisaster known as the Great Conflagration devastates the world as we know it, "the Government" creates the Department of Historical Integrity to prevent historical agitators (or hags), who are able to travel through time, from trying to change the past. The DHI assumes that such horrific events as the Holocaust, the 9/11 attack, and the Great Conflagration are necessary evils to bring about "the Perfect Present," an era of no world problems. One DHI agent, known simply as Zed, travels back in time to Washington, D.C., shortly before the Great Conflagration to ensure that nothing interferes with the murder of an investigative journalist, Karthik Chaudhry, about to meet an important source. Meanwhile, hags try to prevent Chaudry's death. The complex concatenation of events that follows make this book a one-sitting read despite its length. (Sept.)