The background to this story goes back to the tragic life of Hugh Beam Piper, and his story of Calvin. Kalvan, as he is known in this temporal world.
It is a saga of the Aztec type people, versus the Northern Society, and the new King Kalvan, and his struggle to civilize his Peoples.
Some years before the arrival of the latest kidnapping of a group of schoolgirls, and their Escort in the Arizona Desert. They are transported across timelines by pirates, and must rely on Tuck Tucker to protect them from harm.And he does! With the help of the thirteen year olds he vows to protect. There are Judy Bondi, armed with her trusty K-bar knife, Becky, Lydia, with her guitar, and Elspeth Brenner, raped and pregnant. It becomes a race as to who wins, the God-King or the High-King, The plot is worked on to make it very entertaining, the Characters come alive, and sometimes dead. And is very well written.
The action takes place on a continent that closely resembles North America, and uses the Arid Deserts of Arizona, and New Mexico as the Battlefield. And in the end, happily, the good guys win. Enjoy!
This story has no stroke value what ever. What it does have is extremely well developed characters, an intricate plot on more than one level and a storyline that shows both sides of a conflict of greed avarice and just downright decency.
The main character is a natural leader who is also extremely competent (a good thing). The way the other major players are presented, I would be hard pressed to show a lack of common sense with two minor exceptions.
This is NOT a coming of age story, but it does show how people can adapt to a bad situation with common sense and a "can do" spirit.
I'm not going to get into great detail other than to say if you like Action and Adventure, worthy of a Saturday afternoon Matinee Serial this is a good fun time.
The only problem with this story is that I kept trying to superimpose the locales as described on a map of current American Southwest.
I recommend that you print this story out and give it to your 13-yo daughter, niece, granddaughter and let her send her imagination on a road trip. Why this isn't published and aimed at that age group, I'll never know. It's THAT GOOD!
If the only thing that holds your interest in a story is stroke value then pass this one by: there's no sex here. There's nothing here any racier than a little tiny bit of innuendo. I wouldn't strongly recommend this story, though, to everyone who doesn't fit that description.
While it's listed as a Science Fiction story that's a minor aspect of the story as a whole. Mostly it's a people story - the science fiction aspects are completely dwarfed by the human part of the story. Don't worry if you haven't been previously introduced to H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan stories - Gina gracefully gives the portion of the backstory that relates to Tangent.
The story starts with the introduction of some of the main characters as they prepare for a field trip out into the desert in Arizona in the 1967 but the stage is quickly shifted to another timeline where all of the action takes place. And action there is aplenty as the story proceeds as war is brewing in this other timeline - a war on which t William Tucker and his charges may have a profound affect.
The story is told from the points of view of a variety of characters as it goes along though we only know the character that it mostly pivots about - Tuck - from other's observations.
Technically this story is fantastic - I found nothing at all that detracted from the story.
The plot is intricate and very well realized. It could be difficult to keep it all in mind at one time as it progresses, but with each change of viewpoint we get enough context to keep it straight. Along the way we're treated to acts of wisdom, heroism, courage and compassion, as well as some of stupidity and sensless cruelty.
The bottom line is that this is a great story and I highly recommend that almost everyone give it a try.