Coaptation by Timothy H. Cook

By Ekta R. Garg

August 8, 2012

Rated: Borrow it

The sequel to the first novel in the “Book of Drachma” series, Coaptation continues the adventures of cardiologist Bob Gilsen as he tries to make sense of the time travel journey that has taken him from present day to the end of the fifteenth century.  What has brought him to the small island off the coast of England?  Why does he need to be there?  And—most important to Bob—will he be able to go home?  Author Timothy Cook gives readers more hints to the answers of the questions in this novel that compels with a fascinating storyline but might frustrate readers with some of the clumsy technique.

The book opens with Judy, one of the nurses who has worked closely with Bob, and one of the nurses in the hospital present when Josh, a patient with a deep emotional connection to both Judy and Bob, dies.  Judy is driving to Josh’s funeral and trying to handle her grief as well as the mysterious disappearance of Bob.  She and the rest of the hospital staff don’t doubt Bob’s integrity, so they know he would never abandon a patient.  Something, Judy knows, has taken Bob away from them.  Little does she know she’s about to join Bob on a fantastic journey.

Meanwhile Bob wakes up in the late fifteenth century among friends on the isle of Shepperton, off the British coast.  Bob’s new companions explain to him the probable cause for his journey back in time: the earl of Shepperton suffers from an unknown disease as do the famed potters and painters of the isle.  Drachma, the wise, elderly man who harbors many talents and even more secrets, has summoned Bob from the future to treat the earl and solve the mystery of what ails him and the potters and painters.  If the potters and painters continue dying, Shepperton will lose a key element of its livelihood.

Bob meets the earl and examines him, and soon enough he endears himself to the member of nobility as well as others in high positions.  There are those, however, who want to depose the earl and his chosen successor.  And tied into all this is Drachma’s own agenda.  Certainly he wants to aid the earl by bringing Bob to Shepperton, and to give Bob some much needed moral support Drachma manages to bring Judy there as well.  But no one knows just what is at the heart of Drachma’s motivation.

Author Timothy Cook continues the story of his characters with a dramatic story that will keep readers turning pages.  The characters’ individual stories will earn the sympathy of the readers, and Cook keeps a balance between the characters in the present day who strive to make sense of the bizarre of turn of events and the characters in the past who fight to make sense of the illness that has gripped their island home.

Readers may have to fight a sense of frustration, however, as they wade through unnecessary narration and repetition of details.  Cook’s story is hampered by long paragraphs of dialogue as characters spend a lot of time spouting information that would have functioned better in different forms.  The dialogue doesn’t always ring true to the time period or even the geography.  Also, in some chapters readers may be confused by the constant change in point of view, and those not familiar with medical terms may wonder at Cook’s choice of titles.

Technical glitches aside, however, Cook gives his readers an interesting premise, and the progression of events in the story point to an exciting finish in the anticipated third book of the series.  I recommend this book for readers who enjoy historical fiction or books with traces of mystery, albeit with a disclaimer to potential readers to have ready an ample dose of patience for the writing hiccups along the way.


What the ratings mean:

Bookmark it!–Read this book and then buy it and add it to to your own collection.  It’s definitely worth it!

Borrow it–Check this one out from the library; it’s a worthy read, but think twice before spending your hard-earned money on it.

Bypass it–Free time is precious.  Don’t spend it on this book!

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