PYR, Jan 1 2011, $16.00
In 1963 at Brookhaven National Lab, physicists open the first Turing Gate into an alternate time line. The CIA sends Cowboy Angels to spread the gospel of the “Real” American way, which included assassination, overthrow of governments, and dirty tricks to implement a cross time Pan America. President Carter shuts down the program over the howling of Manifest Destiny believers.
Former Cowboy Angel Tom Waverly has become a serial killer crossing several alternate time lines as he rejects Peaceniks like President Carter and his quitter former partner Tom Stone who have ended Operation Swift Sword. The Company directs Stone to learn why Waverly’s target in each history is mathematician Eileen Barrie if he wants his friend brought in from the cold alive.
Stone searches for his partner entering a variety of Turing Gates following clues. Assassins try to kill him when he enters some of the gates. Even more confusing to Stone is in some universes he is teamed with Waverly and in others he tries to capture his partner. Even more convoluted to Stone is his occasional partnering with Waverly’s daughter although he is unsure what side she is on; then he again he no longer knows what side he is on either.
With an obvious nod to Stargate, Cowboy Angels is a convoluted (as the flawed hero learns) science fiction story with a strong why-do-it mystery. Stone holds the complex faster than the speed of light tale focused even as he and the audience wonder what he will find next when he enters a Turing Gate; a sort of Alice falling through the hole. The wonder of this super story is that the Real characters remain consistent with how the history books portray them. This high octane action tale is hard to put down as Paul McAuley provides a terrific thriller.