Executed (Extracted Trilogy, Book 2), by R. R. Haywood
I laid lots of praise on Extracted, the first book in this time travel trilogy. It offered an interesting time travel concept: The creation of a time travel machine seems to have created an apocalyptic future, so three heroic figures are brought out of their timelines at the point of their deaths to alter the outcome. The three characters are a WWII commando, an insurance investigator who single-handedly stopped a terrorist bombing on the London underground, and a special officer who saved England’s prime minister by wiping out terrorists raiding 10 Downing Street by herself.
The first book was great, so I was happily surprised that book two was even better. “Mad” Harry Madden, Ben Ryder, and Safa Patel were fully developed characters working together (with Ryder dragging his feet) to train for an important mission in the future. At the end of the first book an elderly woman appears at their secret bunker, grabs an apple, and enters the common area simply introducing herself as their new boss.
In book two we learn this woman is Miri, one of the greatest spymasters of the mid-20th century. She, too, is snatched from the past at moments before her historic death and arrives to coordinate the team and run the operation. She also adds a whole new psychological wrinkle to the gradually congealing team. Miri is a master of observation and manipulation, and she works with full dedication to the success of whatever task she takes on, no matter the eventual body count.
This volume also expands on the bits of humor in the first book, with Miri adding an interesting perspective on their whole operation and a funny and tender love relationship between Ben and Safa.
In this book we learn that the apocalyptic moment isn’t that far in the future. The British special forces have been assigned to find the time machine. The government has learned from shared intelligence with the US and others that the machine has been built and the US is pushing the British government to seize it. What becomes clear is that the intelligence powers from the US are so determined that the machine is a danger they’re willing to drop nuclear weapons on the UK if they can’t capture the machine. This escalates into various powers sending nuclear weapons to other countries. Miri manages to design an operation that sends the team to protect the machine’s inventor and his research and eventually a series of jumps to every nuclear capitol to halt the war.
Heywood’s action writing is phenomenal and the humor in the calmer moments is handled well. The three-dimensional characters of the first book come alive even more and Miri is an excellent, if often enigmatic, new character. My main complaint now is having to wait around for volume three.