In the future, people refer to the time in which they live as the Perfect Present. There is no war. There is no conflict. There is no hunger. People live in peace. And they want to keep it that way. So when a group of people, referred to as hags, find a way to return to the past in an effort to change major historical events ~ such as the Holocaust and the terrorist acts of 9/11 ~ the government starts sending their own people back to stop them.
In The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen, Zed/Troy Jones is a government operative who is responsible for stopping the hags. His job is to make sure that every major event, even the most horrific events in our history, take place as they are supposed to, so the Perfect Present is protected. On this particular trip, he has returned to our present to ensure the Great Conflagration, which will wipe out much of our society, happens as planned. Here his path crosses those of Tasha, a lawyer who recently lost her brother in an ongoing war, and Leo, a disillusioned ex-government agent who now gathers intelligence for a private firm.
Mullen brings us into the minds of each of these three characters, who find themselves interconnected in a situation that none of them fully understands. While this is definitely a suspenseful thriller, there's actually a lot more introspection among the three characters than there is action. Each is faced with making a difficult decision that will affect not only their own future but that of others as well. Do they go along with what they are expected to do, or do they do what they feel is right? This is the question they each have to answer, and the consequences of their actions could be profound.
The Revisionists is a very thought-provoking novel. It's hard to characterize people as right or wrong, or good or bad, in this story. And even the characters struggle with determining what actions are the "right" ones to take. Is it better to choose the path that leads to the known, or to stray from it and take a chance on the unknown? When we make a commitment of loyalty to an employer, what happens when our morals come in conflict with that job? And is it okay to go against the law and societal norms if you're honestly trying to make a positive difference in someone's life? These are just some of the issues that Zed/Troy, Tasha and Leo face in The Revisionists.
I found this to be a fascinating story. While there wasn't a lot of action, I felt the pace of the novel was fine. I will say only a small portion of the novel takes place in the future, so don't expect a futuristic sci-fi thriller. The majority of it takes place in our time, where we are able to see our world from the perspective of someone from the future. The only thing I wasn't crazy about is the fact that everything wasn't tied up neatly at the end. But overall, I definitely enjoyed The Revisionists, and I would recommend it to anyone who's interested in a real thought-provoking thriller.
For more information, visit the author's website.
Read an excerpt
This review was written based on an ebook copy of The Revisionists that I received from Mulholland Books through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.