After reading the first chapter of Melting Sand on D.R. Shoultz's blog, I was eager to find out more about Miles Stevens, and expectant of good things.
I'm very happy to tell you I got those good things and more. I just finished reading Shoultz's novel and am already looking forward to whatever he has in store for Miles in future books.
Melting Sand isn't your typical time-travel book. I love a good time-travel novel if it's done well. So many of them are based on something magical happening to cause the travel through time, and that's fine, as long as certain things aren't overlooked which cause consistency errors (such as nobody noticing or questioning someone's wristwatch in Ancient Egypt). Melting Sand is different in this aspect: the time travel is scientific and purposeful, with all details attended to.
Miles Stevens and his partner, Terri, are CIA agents who work for the Department of Historic Intervention. They've been sent back 23 years on a mission which, if executed correctly, will prevent a major war in the Middle East. Unfortunately, they're not the first team to have been sent by the DHI on this same mission, and they need to figure out how to work in such a way as to not botch the job like the previous team. They're in constant danger, as one would expect, due to Iranian subversives expecting their arrival and trying to stop them (thank you very much, previous team, for blowing the whole mission that completely).
Although there are specific events which need to be altered for the mission to succeed, they never happen in quite the direct way one would expect, and I like that. No simple "stop this and the war won't happen" kind of things in this book; everything is intertwined and non-linear.
Being me, of course I was pleased that there were very few editing issues. Less than a handful, and most likely things the average non-OCD person would never notice.
When all is said and done, it's not a tidy ending, just like regular life, with the hope of better things in days to come. Excellent read, plenty of action, and a likable hero. Great job, D.R. Shoultz.