Published 20th March 2023 by Elsewhen Press.
From the cover of the book: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 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.
One morning in 2219, Cara Montgomery and her husband Jackson have a terrifying encounter on a misty beach - one heralding the arrival of war with the alien Shapeless. A war which humankind will not survive.
Three hundred years earlier, Harriet Turner travels to the future in pursuit of Jack the Ripper, with a mysterious barber called Fred who is hiding a momentous secret. She is plagued with dreams of a snake eating its own tail, and begins to wonder if it has a significance when she discovers that the so-called Ripper is in fact an agent for the powerful Million Eyes corporation, which has been meddling with time for its own ends.
Harriet and Fred are the only ones standing between the ruthless Miss Morgan, at the head of Million Eyes, and her plans to precipitate disaster. However, the bigger picture is far more complex than any of them can imagine. In fact, Time has an agenda all of its own...
Welcome to the culmination of C.R. Berry's epic Million Eyes trilogy, with the final instalment of the series, Ouroboros. It is difficult to know where to begin here, as very much like the ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tale that gives this book its title, there is a circularity that runs not only through this novel, but the entire trilogy itself.
So what can I tell you? First of all, make sure you have read both books that come before this one, Million Eyes and The Unraveller, before tackling it, because all that has played out before has an important role in Ouroboros. In books one and two Berry successively flips your perception about what is going on at the heart of the bigger Million Eyes story by turning things on their head, but he takes the idea of twists, turns and surprises to a whole new level in this book!
Ouroboros is an unabashed ambitious novel. It incorporates many of the clever time travel concepts that Berry has used before, mixed with a slice of alien apocalypse/space adventure that tips this story over the genre border into terrifying horror. He swings seemlessly between episodes of fast-paced action that have you on the edge of your seat; and emotion laden vignettes that tug mercilessly on the heart-strings; all the while driving you on to an ultimate goal that is as surreal as it is thought provoking.
The time lines chop and change as the story unfolds, bringing new insight about the significance of some of the characters we have met before too. There is such a lot happening in parallel that results in time changing and changing again, that it is a challenge keeping track if it all. However, there is a quality in Berry's writing that pulls you on regardless, and although I cannot claim to know what was happening all the time in this story, I found it an enjoyable experience - and there are many entertaining little nods to some sci-fi classics in the telling.
Having reached the end of the Million Eyes trilogy, I really do feel like I have been on a journey of epic proportions with Mr C.R. Berry. There is not as much of his darkly cheeky sense of humour in Ouroboros as I am used to, but interestingly the piece is flooded with pathos instead, which I think shows how much he has grown in his writing over the series. There is a maturity and poignancy in this final book that is very striking, and I look forward to seeing where Berry goes next in his literary adventures.
Million Eyes III: Ouroboros us available to buy now in paperback and ebook.
Thank you to Elsewhen Press for sending me an ecooy of this book in return for an honest review, and to C.R. Berry for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
About the author:
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 who links a mysterious kids' TV show to an old murder case. The other is a collaboration with his fiancée 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, appropriately, 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!
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