The Kingdom of Ohio
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An incredibly original, intelligent novel?a love story set against New York City at the dawn of the mechanical age, featuring Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and J. P. Morgan.
After discovering an old photograph, an elderly antiques dealer living in present-day Los Angeles is forced to revisit the history he has struggled to deny. The photograph depicts a man and a woman. The man is Peter Force, a young frontier adventurer who comes to New York City in 1901 and quickly lands a job digging the first subway tunnels beneath the metropolis. The woman is Cheri- Anne Toledo, a beautiful mathematical prodigy whose memories appear to come from another world. They meet seemingly by chance, and initially Peter dismisses her as crazy. But as they are drawn into a tangle of overlapping intrigues, Peter must reexamine Cheri-Anne?s fantastic story. Could it be that she is telling the truth and that she has stumbled onto the most dangerous secret imaginable: the key to traveling through time?
Set against the mazelike streets of New York at the dawn of the mechanical age, Peter and Cheri-Anne find themselves wrestling with the nature of history, technology, and the unfolding of time itself.
write these pages. Several years ago I took a composition course at the local community college. During those sensitivity-laden sessions (where bad prose was miraculously transformed into “challenging work,” and cliché into “irony”), the instructor taught us that a story should start by making clear where the narrator stands, establishing the voice. And that’s what I’m hoping to do here—only, rereading these last few paragraphs, I see that it doesn’t seem to be working. And to be honest, clarity
wondering as she has done every day since their departure whether this might be an elaborate nightmare, sent by God as some kind of test. They stand silently, side by side in their mud-stained velvet, surveying the horizon. Then he turns. “Now I must see to the camp.” He leads her back to her tent and checks the progress of the settlers—of his people, as he has already affectionately come to think of them: a motley band of brave or foolish souls from the village in France, a few more adventurers
longer, she thinks. She opens her eyes, plastering a smile on her face in preparation for the harp teacher’s arrival. And she imagines herself far away from here, stepping off a train in New York, onto the stage of real life. SHE RECALLS THIS NOW, sitting in the subway workshop. It is morning and the fire in the stove has died during the night, her breath steaming in the chill air. Beyond the dirty windows the shapes of New York are a dim jumble. She shakes her head and shivers, fighting
the midst of everything else. “If you change your mind.” He drops the bills onto the table, where they lie in a crumpled pile. She reaches out and touches the money. “But why?” she asks, more sorrowful than angry. “And why did you not tell me?” Peter looks at her, takes a deep breath and looks away. “Didn’t think you’d agree. Didn’t know if it would come to that, anyhow.” She doesn’t answer, staring at the sodden bills and wondering, with a kind of abstract despair, how they have reached this
make my way through the dimly lit galleries, the dinosaur bones and silent dioramas depicting fragments of other landscapes: a series of stuffed birds against the painted backdrop of a sunset lagoon, extinct buffalo gazing out from a prairie of dried grass, carved totem poles in a forest. Finally I find the exhibit that I’m looking for, at the end of a silent corridor. My heart is hammering as I step through the door and look around. Coming here, I didn’t really know what to expect—but it