So, Laughing Wolf is put in the hands of Felix Taylor, citizen of the 23rd century and is one of the only people left in the world who carries a book around. It's a book about the emperor Spartacus and his war against the Romans. Books in 2231 are mostly in museums now, and food is pretty much growth-powered. One day however, as he's taking the transit, people start dropping dead, everyone is confined to their homes for awhile because of a plague, but the crazy thing is, the descriptions of this plague match a story in Felix's book, and the only cure may be the Laughing Wolf, a lupus ridens flower, an extinct one from centuries ago.
Now, despite its familiar future depictions, this is a thriller without romance. All I have to say to that is: Bout time. And like Ruby Red, it had a very neat way of time travel. Are there particles that travel faster than the speed of light? Perhaps. And what I mean about this being a series is that this book has several time travel elements that really work. I'll never forget that the 71 BC people worshipped cinnamon now. I was wondering in my head as I was reading this how the book would've worked out if it was a trilogy. It could've worked. It seems to work in three or four steps with one of them being short enough for one story. My favourite part of the book was the middle of it, when it takes a mild twist where I was worried the book was going to chicken out on more storytelling and ended up having a reasonable extra topping. There's also a moment involving what I think is the time where eggs were giant which is over very quick and could've had a chapter of its own. Nicholas Maes describes a moment where Felix has to dip his hand into something that feels like boiling tar, and when I thought about it, that was a terrific description when I thought about the air at the moment. While sometimes it feels step-by-step, the writing and brief history lessons bring fascination rather than the need to show and not tell.
In all honest, I think the part I enjoyed the least was the last few chapters, which aren't horrible and have a noble act. They were just sometimes a little shallow in what they could have been like. However, the ending still has a speech I hope the world gives if it ever ends up like how it's depicted in this book. Not bad for an indie.