Time Tourist Outfitters, Ltd.
Set in near-future Toronto, Time Tourist Outfitters, Ltd. tells the story of former Temporal Agent Wilda, who runs the titular shop. There, she delights in the details of period and location-appropriate fabrics and dyes to create clothing for Time Tourists. But when a customer collapses at the front desk, Wilda knows she is about to be drawn back into the Agency.
A plague amongst travelers has erupted, affecting anyone who has time-traveled in the last ten years. Wilda hung up her badge long before, after the unfortunate deaths of her husband and son while on a mission. She and her assistant, Mattea, are tasked with going back in time, retracing the victims’ steps, to solve the mystery of this new plague.
Wilda and Mattea visit three places in search of the disease vector: 14th-century Mali, pre-Columbian Nova Scotia, and 12th-century Orkney. I loved being in the royal court of Mansa Musa in Mali, as it is not a place written about frequently. The prose is light and this is a fast, easy read. The story is simple and maintains its course. I enjoyed the practical discussions on appearance, as Wilda is First Nations, and Mattea is of European descent. However, the sarcastic banter of Wilda grew tiresome to this reader. The dialogue isn’t terribly clever nor original, and it was often extraneous—neither deepening the character nor the plot. While the story satisfactorily concluded, it is clearly left open to be the first in a series. If time travel or near-future isn’t something you normally would read, I wouldn’t bother; however, if this conceit is of interest, this book is a decent version.