A one-way trip from the near future to the distant past forces one army unit to adapt to a life they could never have dreamt. Their flight into history will forever change the future that they know. Once there, they discover they are not the first to make the journey, and history as they knew it, has gone far, far off course.
As the story opens, the U.S. 4th Armored Cavalry Regiment is conducting an incursion into North Korea during the Second Korean War – an event that seems all too plausible based on 21st-century tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world. But their journey is interrupted by an explosion that interacts with time and space, instantly transporting the 500 men and women from the 21st century A.D. to sometime between 1,000 and 500 B.C.E. Their world is gone – and there’s no way back.
Their initial contact with a nearby village is peaceful until they are forced to decide whether to attempt to preserve the future, a future they are familiar with, or whether they should integrate themselves into their current circumstances and let future history take care of itself.
A local warlord has been regularly raiding their village and conscripting young men for soldiers. None have ever returned. This time it’s the warlord’s men who don’t make it back to camp. They are wiped out by 21st-century weaponry in a matter of seconds. It comes as no surprise, then, when a more substantial unit arrives on the scene to investigate.
Just as the soldiers begin to settle in, building homesteads, relationships, and new lives for themselves, they discover that they are not the first people to travel back in time. Those who have come before are enemies – old enemies.
As the story begins, the circumstances in which the 4th Armored Cavalry finds themselves in are reminiscent of two classic works of alternate history/time travel science fiction, Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling and 1632 by Eric Flint. In both of those series openers, an unexplained event transports a location, leaving the time travelers to adapt to their changed circumstances and figure out a way to thrive in the past.
The setup is a good basis for a Sci-fi. What makes Breaching the Parallel stand out from the rest is the interesting approach MWAnderson takes, by revealing that our protagonists are not the first to arrive and that people who traveled to the past before them, have become the dominant power in their brave new/old world. Breaching the Parallel sets the characters up for renewed conflict in a future book in this prospective series – a pretty interesting set of characters at that.
Breaching the Parallel is a military sci-fi with a clever twist that both thrills and intrigues. MWAnderson shows his knowledge in detailing how an explicitly military mission would conduct itself in a situation where the mission has changed out of all recognition. Those who love a good military sci-fi need look no further – MWAnderson delivers in spades.
Breaching the Parallel by MWAnderson won 1st Place in the CIBA 2017 Cygnus Awards for Science Fiction.