The History of Things to Come

By Duncan Simpson

Duncan Simpson writes descriptively in a style not seen very much anymore. It took me a chapter or two to get over my impatience as he used more words to say things than today’s typical novelist. By then, I was fully hooked and immersed in enjoying the imagery. It made “The History of Things to Come” a richer story.

The fast-paced, full-steam ahead story combines true historical events (the Afterword explains some of this) into a complex, modern-day mystery. It was interesting to learn about Isaac Newton in the context of a mystery. (You’ll want to do some Googling for the fun of it.) I don’t usually care if the history in a novel is accurate as long as it is plausible. That said, this was a readable, plausible story that kept me eager to turn the pages.

It’s easy to say in a first novel that the characters could be more well-rounded. In reading Michael Connelly’s Bosch novels from the mid-2000s and then going back and reading from the beginning—well, his characters kept improving. I predict the same thing will happen with Mr. Simpson’s books. Each one will bring new depths to the people I already like.

When I try a new author, one of my tests is diving into the first 4-5 chapters and then walking away for a day or two. If I’m drawn back, then I know something in the book has caught my attention. That can be writing style, plot, characters—or as in this case–all of them. I was eager to pick this book up again and see how the story was going to end.

This is a mystery/thriller in the vein of the Preston/Child Pendergast books. The envelope of reality is pushed to the edges and I’m okay with that. Will you be?


I received this book for free by request of providing an honest review–and am thrilled to do so!