Eos / 368 pages / (March 1, 2003)
Do you ever wonder what went so wrong with the Russian Revolution? Some of the communist ideals were admirable; the promise of plenty for all is a wonderful concept, equality for all citizens is so just and natural. So what happened? Maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t the theories that doomed the experiment from the start, but the people who ended up in power. If someone who genuinely believed in the best of lofty goals had taken the reins? Who knows what the world would look like now?
Suppose someone stepped in at the death scene of an influential anarchist and offered him a chance to live again, in the future. Imagine this noble, endearing anarchist (there’s a phrase you don’t hear all the time…) arriving in the world of 1999 Richmond, Virginia, with a front row seat on all the prejudice, injustice, suffering, and imbalance of the end of the twentieth century. A committed man such as this would be unable to shrug off the inequities and abuses and go on with his new life. Such a man would be Peter Alexeivich Kropotkin.
Plucked from his dying body by a mysterious and maddening person from the future, Peter is allowed to start over, but he can no more change his nature than racists can celebrate diversity. Soon, his wisdom and radical view of the world have people, especially young people, flocking to him to hear more. He even discovers some people who, like himself, were snatched from their own time and set down here. The process of acceptance and adaption will prove unique to each person around Peter.
Of course, in every age there are those who fear change — without or without justification. These powers are going to be no more receptive to Peter’s ideas no than they were in 1921. Peter has some advantages now: his knowledge of history, experience, and the use of the amazing watch that allows him to move through time. After all, he has the benefit of an entire lifetime to look back on and ponder. Did he make the right decisions the first time around? How he will choose to use these powers is the question at the heart of The Watch.
How deep is devotion to an ideal when balanced against loyalty, love, and personal happiness?
Dennis Danvers never delivers less than riveting, thought-provoking fiction. The issues The Watch raises may be the most insightful yet. He encourages readers to separate the philosophy from the philosopher and to judge the results by the implementation. It is a daring, tantaliSing challenge; don’t shrink away from it.
And the story? Fascinating from the first page, drawing the reader in to read along at breakneck pace to the breathless conclusion. It is impossible to set the story of Peter Alexeivich Kropotkin aside, even for a break. Even after finishing the last page and closing the cover, this is an account that will resound within for some time to come. It is unforgettable.