Title: Time Arrow
Author: Y.L. Stray
Length: 28 pdf pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m sci-fi time-travel historical
After his lover Patroclus dies in the war with Troy, Greek hero Achilles waits expectantly for a blissful reunion in the afterlife. But the arrow that kills Achilles is cursed by Apollo, preventing the warrior from entering the Elysian fields. Offered a chance to undo the curse, Patroclus is reborn as Padraig into a far different world than the one he knew, where the only constant is his determination to save his beloved.
As a fan of ancient Greek mythology I was eager to take on this edition of the time-travel stories offered by Dreamspinner Press. Despite not quite connecting with the characters, I do enjoy ancient historicals vs the usual time periods we tend to see in romantic fiction.
The story begins with Achilles and his lover Patrocles at the time of the Trojan war. Achilles refuses to fight with Patrocles for fear that the Trojans will take him as well as Helen, if only to be vindictive. Patrocles goes to fight and is struck down by Hector and Achilles then goes after Hector to seek his revenge, however that pesky arrow to the heel strikes him down. Meanwhile, Patrocles is waiting for Achilles in the Elysian Fields and is told that Apollo cursed Achilles soul to remain bound to the arrow, but that Patrocles could possibly free him by going back to the land of men.
The story then flashes foward to Padraig, a scientist who has helped perfect a time travel machine and he has also discovered why he felt like he never fit in. Through dreams he realized he is Patrocles and he must destroy the arrow, now in a museum, in order to free Achilles. He plans to travel to the future, just as the earth is about to be destroyed by a dying sun, to free Achilles, dying himself. However Achilles sends him back and he survives only to find himself treated by a doctor who bears a striking resemblance to Achilles.
I really enjoyed the ancient history part of this story, because as I said, it’s my thing, what I was left more confused with was the whole method of freeing Achilles soul from the arrow. Despite knowing Greek mythology is mixed in with a healthy dose of Greek history, I’m not sure the arrow that killed Achilles is around to be in a museum. How would you know? And why the elaborate plan involving an exploding sun and a wormhole to destroy it? It seemed overly complicated and mystifying. It just said he found out through a dream how to destroy the arrow. But it never made much sense to me.
There was some confusion for me, and the doctor, if the soul in the arrow was just destroyed, then how could the doctor be alive? But he’d been having dreams about Padraig, and… well, I think all those difficulties with time travel seemed to come roaring forward for me and with the short format there really wasn’t away to explain it except, just be happy, it all worked out, don’t worry why.
Save for the very first portion of the story, Patrocles and Achilles (Padraig and Archer) are not romantically involved, the thrust of the story is Padraig trying to release the soul of Achilles or recovering in the hospital after his time travel trip, thus I never really felt connected to Padraig and Archer as a couple. Still, despite some of my issues, I enjoy a story that brings ancient history into the mix so fans of Greek mythology/lore will likely enjoy this one for that aspect alone.