Publication Order of Crosstime Traffic Books
|Gunpowder Empire||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Curious Notions||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|In High Places||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Disunited States of America||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Gladiator||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Valley-Westside War||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
The Crosstime Traffic book series by Harry Turtledove is based on the operations of a global organization, Crosstime Traffic that generates income by dispatching its agents to different to different timelines where they exploit the price disparities. The main characters in the book series are based on two main teenage crusaders, usually a boy and a girl who are inevitably faced with the prospect of surviving in a hostile, foreign alternate world. The time travel technology is the property of the monopoly represented by the company Crosstime Traffic and enables it to access alternate global scenarios where history as we know it took a different turn, so to speak. Turtledove’s fictional parallel world is set in the year 2090 though the overall scenario is similar to civilization in and around 2010. The only subtle difference is that the fictional alternate universe depicted in 2090 has radical technological advancements and the global citizens enjoy the benefits of temporal transposition or time travel.
The “Home Timeline” is where civilization is fictionally based. Throughout the book series, the home timeline is constantly plagued by depleting scarce resources and Crosstime Traffic secretly applies its time travel technology to bring in supplies from alternate universes in order to avert impending doom that civilization as we know it is bound to face.
In the book series, the main teenage protagonists are intertwined in the secret Company operations that take place across various alternate universes. In each book, different characters and different alternate universes are used so there is no single character, alternate world or setting that is shared between any two books. The only common thread that is inherent in the twelve book series is the organization Crosstime Traffic. Another commonality in the series is the constant application of two main heroes in the form of a male and female teenager who gets entangled in the thrilling and engaging plot set in alternate history coupled with an exhilarating time travel experience. Throughout the novels, the plot is based on the perceptions of the two teenagers and the alternate worlds as they see and experience it.
The Gunpowder Empire is the first book in the riveting and captivating Crosstime Traffic series and was published in 2003. Like all other publications in this sequence, it is an alternate history novel based on a Roman empire that never really collapsed. Amanda and Jeremy Salter are the main characters in the Gunpowder Empire who live in the 21st century. The teenager’s parents are employed by the corporate juggernaut Crosstime Traffic as agents.
In the current timeline, Polliso is an ancient Romanian village while in the alternate timeline it is a cosmopolitan city that is part and parcel of the Roman Empire that never really crumbled. By the year 2100, the fictional Roman Empire had slackened industrially and still carried out the crude inhuman practice of slavery. Lietuvan, a rival empire north of Rome has grown and is constantly pitted in wars and battles against Rome itself. In between, the Roman Empire invents gunpowder, an advancement that lends the book its thought arousing title.
The reader is taken through an alternate bygone journey that culminates in Mrs. Salter’s illness. Her husband decides to take his ill wife and family back to their home timeline in order to seek medical intervention. By a stroke of bad luck, a link breakdown is experienced by the time travel apparatus. This unfortunate setback results in Jeremy and Amanda being stranded in Polliso just as the Lietuvan army has breached the border placing the city in a compromising military situation. The young adults are boxed in a corner and forced to adjust to their dire situation and take to pawning their valuables and trinkets. To compound the situation further, the watchful Roman authorities zero in on their otherwise suspicious trading activities since their barter items consist of “modern” designer watches and Swiss army knives that the Romans had not invented, let alone seen at the time. The siblings are faced with a fight for their survival while contemplating whether Crosstime Traffic will save the day and transport them back to their home timeline.
“In High Places” is the third book in the riveting Crosstime Traffic series and is set in the alternate historical Kingdom of Versailles. In the book, Paris is depicted as a pathetic filthy town with poor infrastructure and human slavery is rife. The situation is humanity at its worst but everyone in town takes it in stride and does not seem to notice as they are constantly engaged in tiring backbreaking hard labor. The Black Plague decimates the European population by 80% resulting in Southern Europe being ruled by Muslims while the North is relegated to a backwater area.
The dynamic teenage duo, a constant feature in the series is represented by Annette Klein and Jacques. In the parallel world Annette adopts the character of Khadija, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy and prosperous Muslim family. In the home time world, she is really the daughter of a 21st century California couple who are Crosstime Traffic secret agents. Her family is actually trading for essential goods to be exported to their home time line.
Jacques is a young man who hails from Versailles and a devout follower of Henri, the second son of God. He befriends Khadija’s Muslim family unknowingly as he is ordered by his superior to monitor any suspicious activity pertaining to Muslim traders. Annette is slated to resume her school year in 21st century California and on her train journey to Marseille, both Jacques and Annette are accosted by outlaw Crosstimers who use the technology to augment their slave trade. This event sets in motion an adventure as they try to escape back home.
The writer, Harry Turtledove’s books, despite being intriguing, deep and hard to put down alternate history novels, have not formed the basis of any movie script. Pundits have often remarked with much surprise on the need for the Crosstime Traffic book series to be turned into what would be a thrilling and engaging silver screen series or a box office science fiction blockbuster.Book Series In Order » Characters » CrossTime Traffic