Medusa’s Web by Tim Powers is an intricately woven and intriguing tale in which Powers revisits time travel—a plot device he’d explored in The Anubis Gates. The time travel in this newer work, however, has no similarities to his previous novel. In fact, the time travel in Medusa’s Web is unlike any that you’ll read elsewhere. Forget the machines, the setting of dials, and the transporting back to pop-culture cliché eras that you’ll encounter in garden-variety time travel novels. Tim Powers utilizes his skills to create something entirely fresh and original, and—as he is renowned for doing—he makes you believe that his new creation is an ancient magic that has been there all along, waiting for you to discover it. The supernatural elements he weaves into this everyday reality are so cunning, intricate, and just plain “true” that you have no choice but to believe them.
As heirs to their aunt’s will, Scott and Madeline Madden have been summoned back to the Victorian mansion in Hollywood where they’d been raised after the disappearance of their parents. The crumbling mansion, Caveat, has long been the focal point of a dark sorcery that dates back to ancient Greek cults, who had cultivated the power to travel time via magic images. The twisted and ephemeral nature of their time traveling methods has the effect of weaving a horrifying web through time. The cultists—and the innocents like Scott and Madeline—who encounter these magic images risk being tangled in the web of time and addicted to the experience itself. The effect is a dark and chilling ensnarement—where echoes of deadly explosions rattle the windows, keyboards type the streams-of-consciousness from the dead, and soul-sucking cultists try to ensnare new victims. And even as Scott and Madeline try to untangle themselves from the nightmare weavings of the past, they must face the modern day threats of car chases and gunfire. Another gripping yarn by Mr. Powers.