I know, Extracted by R.R. Haywood doesn’t technically start with X, but considering the number of books that do start with X is basically none, I adopted Goodreads’s guideline for its alphabetical reading challenge lists. You only need an X in the title. And I wanted to read one I would probably enjoy.
Side note for authors: If you give your book a title that starts with X, it will probably be easier to find. Just saying.
Extracted is a sci-fi/time travel story that took me by surprise in the early chapters. The prologue was amusing because it sets up how the time “machine” was accidentally discovered by a company wanting to instantly transport goods from warehouse to customer. Remind you of anyone?
The first three chapters introduce us to three main characters in three different years: Ben in 2015, Harry in 1943, and Safa in 2020. Ben is an insurance investigator who stopped a terrorist attack on a London subway when he was “extracted” from his timeline. Harry is a British soldier in World War II who is famous for acts of bravery. Safa is a police officer charged with protecting the Prime Minister who sexually harasses her on the regular. Harry and Safa are also extracted at the moments of their “deaths.”
The three are taken to a compound, which is in a time period I don’t want to give away because it’s a neat surprise. They struggle to believe their situation at first. In their minds, the events that led to their demise were recent, and the author takes the opportunity to inject some humor as they are getting used to each other.
Harry shakes his head. Safa just stares at Ben. “Holborn was five years ago…”
“Five years ago.”
“Five years ago.”
“Stop,” Harry says.
“So what did he say to you?” Safa asks. “Five years ago?”
“Oh, you mean yesterday?”
Because the three were heroes in their lives, they fight against their captors (which is one of several engaging action scenes), before they learn why they were chosen for extraction. Roland eventually explains why they are there.
“You see, we discussed whether we should get historians, scientists, or other experts and then we discussed getting you three first, which of course would be harder given your propensity for violence and …”
“We’re not violent,” Ben says, aghast at the implication.
“I am,” Harry says honestly.
“Yeah, I can be,” Safa says.
“I’m not violent,” Ben says, aghast at the implication.
“In the end we decided to risk extracting you three first.”
In the interest of no spoilers, I won’t say what their mission is exactly. The time travel trips they take to prove the existence of time travel are well described and interesting. I can’t tell you about the ending, because I haven’t gotten there yet, but considering I read half of the book in about three days, you should get an idea of how engaging the story is.
Other X titles in my Bookbag: There are none. Seriously, authors. X titles. Write some.