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    Review of IN HIGH PLACES by Harry Turtledove


    TOR, January 2006

    Disguised as Moslem traders from Marsailles, Khadija and her parents are actually crosstime traders--buying the stuff that lets the home timeline prosper. They're exploring a world where the black plague lasted longer and killed more people than in the home timeline--a world where Europe was so depopulated that Moslem invaders reconquered Spain, moved further into the Balkans and Southern Europe, and even defeated most of France than in our own history. In this alternate world, a holy man proclaimed himself to be Henri, God's second (and more important) son.

    When Khadija and a young caravan guard, Jacques, are taken captive and enslaved, Khadija hopes that Crosstime will rescue her. A lifetime of slavery seems like a nightmare. But that nightmare pales compared to the reality she faces. She and Jacques are purchased not by locals, but by rogue elements of the home timeline--elements with illegal access to the transportation chambers that allow Crosstime to move goods and people across the multiple dimensions of history. Khadija and Jacques are slaves in an alternate reality unexplored by Crosstime--and held captive by people who get their jollies out of owning slaves--and killing anyone who gives them trouble.

    Author Harry Turtledove (see more reviews of novels by Turtledove) continues his Crosstime saga with the strongest story yet in this young adult-oriented series. Although the movement between two alternate realities, and the limited access Khadija and Jacques have in the slave-world allow Turtledove to do less exploration of the differences that small changes in history might make, Turtledove deals with real moral issues and human problems.

    Young readers, in particular, will enjoy seeing Khadija planning her escape--and respect her fears that Crosstime itself must be infiltrated. I found Khadija's escape plan to be a bit simplistic and unbelievable, but that didn't keep IN HIGH PLACES from offering an intriguing look at alternate history.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/03/05

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