Monday, 20 March 2023

Million Eyes III: Ouroboros by C.R. Berry

Chez Maximka, time travel novel

 "Million Eyes - and everything Million Eyes have done - are part of an endless, repeating cycle."

Her words made a chill slither down Harriet's spine. "Endless, repeating cycle."

The ouroboros."

Million Eyes III: Ourboros by C.R.Berry is the final instalment in the Million Eyes series. 

It could be read as a standalone, as there is a short recap at the beginning of the book, but I strongly recommend reading all three books to appreciate the sheer volume of the original framework and system. 

Book blurb:

Time is the Ultimate Deceiver

On a cold morning in 2219, Cara Montgomery and her husband, Jackson, have a frightening encounter on the beach. An encounter that leads to a war with a depraved and relentless alien race, the Shapeless, changing their lives forever.

Three hundred years earlier, Harriet Turner travels to the future to learn the shocking secret behind Victorian London's most notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper. A mysterious barber, Fred, goes with her, but Fred has a shocking secret of his own.

Hunted by the ruthless Miss Morgan and plagued by the visions of a snake eating its own tail, Harriet discovers that the all-powerful Million Eyes isn't the only one with an agenda. Time itself has one too.

Million Eyes is a fascinating merger of genres, from sci fi to time travel, conspiracy and alternative history. All these elements create a series of gripping What If? scenarios. 

It's impossible to give a short synopsis of the book, as there is so much going on, so many conspiracy threads, historical layers and plotlines in this complex narrative.  You have to admire the author for bringing it all together in such a clever, original way. I can imagine a spreadsheet along the big wall with sticky notes and arrows everywhere, creating one alternative history timeline after another, and balancing the real historical events and characters with fictional.

You think you might have found your footing in the warped reality and just about grasp what's going on, then the next page everything you have accepted, has changed again, like in some Dr Strange's reality falling apart, due to an incursion. You really have to pay attention not to get lost in the complex maze of ideas.

Big kudos also for creating some of the creepiest "alien" creatures ever (definitely not for the faint-hearted!).

Million Eyes is a sinister organisation with an agenda. They can easily justify the murder of innocents to implement their plans.

Most of its members believe in their mission, though some begin to have doubts. "What if it isn't working? What if we can't change the future?" "We can change the future.We've already made changes. We've seen them." "But we haven't changed that future. We haven't stopped the Last war. The Apocalypse. Our destruction at the hands of the Shapeless. The whole reason any of us are even here".

To defeat the Shapeless in the future, they must constantly monitor the timeline to stop the Unraveller, who is travelling back in time to interfere with the events that were supposed to happen and to try to undo Million Eyes' rise to power.

Like in the previous books in the series, we encounter some downright evil baddies, without any pity or remorse.

This series will make you think of the ethics of time travelling and trying to change the past in order to "improve" the present or the future. Whatever period of time you choose, there is an eternal struggle for power. 

Harriet Turner, who we first encounter in the previous books as an eleven-year-old street sweeper in the Victorian London, becomes the main protagonist in Ouroboros. The time travelling gives her a clarity of identity and purpose. "For a long time, I didn't know. Living rough, cleaning the streets for rich folk, I had no idea. A girl out of time. But I know now. I know exactly who I am. I'm the woman who saves the world."

Harriet believes in her mission, but is she deluded? 

When she travels in the future, Harriet is aware of the ominous and forbidding red snake, eating its own tail. "Harriet did some research and learned that a snake swallowing its tail and forming a circle was an ancient symbol called an ouroboros, used to represent infinity. An endless and repeating cycle."

What does the snake signify? Why does Harriet keep seeing it on her travels? Is her destiny truly to save the world, or is there another, sinister reason for her existence and capabilities?

Million Eyes III Ouroboros is a breakneck sci fi caper with non-stop suspence, perfect for fans of alternative history and time travel fiction.

An absolute belter of a book, which pulls you in straight away. Brilliantly plotted, inventive and thoroughly entertaining.

I can absolutely see this trilogy made into a Netflix series. Exciting, pacy and addictive.

Potential triggers: murder, extinction of the human race; it might also be offensive to Christians, as there is an alternative explanation of the life of Jesus and birth of Christiainty.

This post is part of the blog tour for Million Eyes III Ouroboros.

Many thanks to C.R.Berry and Elsewhen Press for my ARC!

You can find reviews of two previous books in the series here:

Million Eyes


Million Eyes II: The Unraveller

Author Bio:

C.R.Berry is an ex-lawyer turned full-time writer, whose fiction spans the sci-fi, mystery, conspiracy, historical, fantasy and horror genres - because why have one genre when you can have them all? His favourite characters are usually villains, hence why he likes conspiracy stories, where there are baddies at every turn,

Berry was published in Best of British Science Fiction 2020 from Newcon Press with a short story set in the world of the Million Eyes trilogy. He's also been published in magazines and anthologies such as Storgy and Dark Tales, and in 2018 was shortlisted in the Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition. 

Having completed the Million Eyes trilogy, Berry is working on two further novels. One is a horror called The Puddle Bumps, about a lawyer wo links a mysterious kids' TV show to an old murder case.

The other is a collaboration with his fiancee Katy called Breaching The Wall, a sci-fi adventure about a spaceship tasked with solving the Universe's greatest mystery: why the wall that surrounds it is collapsing.

He lives with Katy in Clanfield, Hampshire, in a house called the Gathered Worlds, named after the intergalactic organisation in Breaching The Wall and, apparently, because they've themed all the rooms.

Their bedroom is a spaceship, their kitchen a 50s diner and their living room a forest. Their office is a nerd's dream, wall to wall with TV and movie memorabilia to fuel the magic that happens there!

Website and social media links:

C.R.Berry - Author of sci-fi & fantasy conspiracy thrillers:

C.R. Berry (@cr_berry_author) • Instagram photos and videos

Chez Maximka, Galina Varese art

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