Strange lights and the possibility of an alien spacecraft leads readers into the second novel focused on Mal Thomas from Jeremy D. Holden. Valley of Time is technically a sequel to Sea of Doubt, but is written in a way that can allow it to act as a standalone work. Mal Thomas, former ad man, returns after receiving a call from the head of a company known as Space Rider asking him to take part in a new campaign that Mal’s former company is already working on. This story is surprising in that it takes you on an unexpected journey that will make you want to believe in the impossible.
Mal Thomas has been brought back to Miami after mysterious lights were spotted over a small town in South Africa. For those of you who haven’t read Sea of Doubt, you should know that a great deal of dangerous events took place there for our main character and that he has been forever changed by his previous experiences there. In Valley of Time Mal is still dealing with the changes that have taken place in his life since he was tasked with taking on an ad campaign with theological implications in Sea of Doubt. You can find out more about the previous novel from my recent review, but I will say that this story is written with a different end goal in mind. It caters more to a sci-fi reader than to a thriller fan, though it is still full of surprising moments. After agreeing to investigate mysterious lights in South Africa, Mal finds himself drawn into an FBI investigation concerning cold fusion, a missing scientist, and the possibility of space travel.
Holden creates a different sort of story in Valley of Time that, while reminiscent of his previous work, focuses more on growing as a person and working through challenges that have impacted your life. He uses Mal’s trusting nature and sardonic wit to slowly influence the reader into wanting to think that anything can be possible. With no official year placed on the plot you can image a time in which space travel for people would be possible, but beyond that he expands on this idea in a way that will seem believable. I was prepared to have the rug pulled out from under me, but Mal’s easy nature during the moments of greatest doubt kept me connected to the story. Valley of Time is a great read for science fiction fans of all types as well as those who enjoy a blend of realistic and otherworldly elements. There are not only nods to The X-Files, but it would be a fun read for fans of that series.
You can find out more about Valley of Time on the book’s official website.
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