REVIEW: Shadows on the Border, by A.L. Lester

Shadows on the Border - A.L. Lester

Title: Shadows on the Border
Series: Lost in Time
Author: A.L. Lester
Genre: Sci Fi / Time Travel
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay/Non-Binary
Publisher: JMS Books
Page Count: 190 Pages
Reviewer: MaryAnn

About the Book

Sequel to Lost in Time.

Newspaper reporter Lew Tyler and his lover, Detective Alec Carter, are working out the parameters of their new relationship. Meanwhile, time traveler Lew is trying to decide whether he wants to stay in the 1920s or find a way to get back to 2016, and Alec doesn’t know if he can bear the vulnerability of being in love with someone who uses such dangerous magic.

Fenn is a Hunter from the Outlands, come through the Border to search for the murderous Creature and its offspring at the behest of the Ternants, who maintain the balance between Fenn’s world and ours. Fenn strikes a bond with Sergeant Will Grant, Alec’s second in command, who is keen to learn more about his own magical abilities. As time goes on, Will grows keen to learn more about Fenn, as well.

Fenn has their own painful secret, and when they appear to have betrayed the team and goes missing in London, Will is devastated. He has to choose between following his heart or following his duty.

Moving through the contrasting rich and poor areas of post-First World War London from West End hotels to the London docklands, the men need to work together to capture the Creature … and choose who – and what — is important enough to hold on to and what they may need to give up to make that happen.

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The Review

In 2016, the world has split and “The Border” is a protection against “The Outlands” where “Creatures” seeking energy lurk.  Certain humans have an ability called “The Pull” and are known as “Workers”. Workers keep “The Border” repaired. “The Border” is power and danger, if misused a person could find themselves in situations beyond their control.

Ellison “Lew” Tyler crossed “The Border” in 2016 in search of his foster sister Mira, he found himself in the year 1919 in London. Three years later Lew is still in London and still works for The Pictorial Examiner and also the police. With the help of Kelly Finn, Lew has become more knowledgeable about early 1900’s in England and he’s also learned that there’s more to “The Pull” than he thought.  Lew still finds himself adjusting to the past but he’s well aware of what’s to come in the future.   He’s formed new friendships in this strange new era and one happens to be with the brooding Detective Inspector Alec Carter.  Their first meeting did not go so well.  As time has gone by they’ve become closer, but there’s still a fragility to their slow growing and secretive relationship.  Along with homicides caused by the creature “Carnas”, Alec is still worried that Lew will leave and go back to 2016.  He also fears Lew because of “The Power” and what he’s experienced since the police force now has a division called “The Peculiar” that he oversees.

While Sergeant William Grant is searching for a murderer he comes across a strange being that has crossed “The Border”. Fenn, is an Officer of the Law and protector for “The Border”.  He has come in search of the creature that’s been causing havoc in London.   Fenn is certainly an oddity, elf like and has no gender.  Fenn sheds even more interesting facts about what goes on behind “The Border” and “The Power” that he possesses.  When it’s brought to forefront what Fenn’s goal is Alec, Lew and Grant have no choice but to help Fenn. 

A.L. Lester takes us back in time, to the early 1900’s in London.  The descriptions of the streets of London, dress and verbiage really paint a vivid picture of the time period.  The storyline is packed with danger, suspense, fantasy, sci-fi and mystery. There’s an abundance of solid characters and each have interesting stories to be told.  I thought the author handled Fenn’s non-gender very carefully, with how the others perceived it. The author also focused on the strange and new discoveries about “The Border” and “The Pull” and how all the characters are in some way affected by it.  

Although, Alec and Lew’s relationship is sweetly subtle through out the story, there comes a point in the story when the emotions run high and it’s a beautiful moment.  I’m very curious about what’s going to happened with William Grant and Fenn as there seems to be more that a connection between them. 

I got hooked on the novella, teaser, titled “The Gate”.  It’s a short read that introduces the mysterious “Gate”,  Matty, his brother Arthur, Rob and Lin of the Frem.  From there, the first novel created from “The Gate” is “Lost In Time” where we first meet Lew and Mira and how they find themselves in 1919 London and what power “The Border” and  “The Pull”  have on people and strange things to come.I don’t know what A.L. Lester has planned but I would definitely invest in  another novel from “The Border”.   There’s so many characters and so much going on, there’s still a great potential for more to come!

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