Otto has been taken, kidnapped by Kolya while attempting to save his daughters and trapped in New York in November 1984, in a world where Philip K Dick has become President of the United States and where word of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest film, The Terminator, is on everybody’s lips.
Saved from this cul-de-sac of Time, Otto returns to Four-Oh to find that peace has broken out between the battle weary Russians and Germans, with Otto – as newly appointed Master of Time – at the centre of it all. Only Otto’s girls are still missing in Time and he cannot rest until he has found them and brought them back.
That clash – between being a good father or a dutiful Master – dominates this final book. It is a long road, one which leads through the hell that is Krasnogorsk, and whilst their enemy Reichenau is finally taken, the evil Kolya remains, defying all of Otto’s best efforts to capture and kill him.
Gehlen, once a man and the originator of the Time Equations but now part of the Artificial Intelligence that controls Four-Oh, proves a jealous creature and, with a malicious whimsy, shuts down the life-support systems that make Four-Oh habitable. Otto, half suffocated, gives the order to abandon Four-Oh, shutting it down and switching operations to the other ‘time bunker’, Moscow Central.
Time passes. Otto and Katerina find themselves in one final battle – in the Teutoburg Forest in nine AD, with the German tribes, fighting the Roman legions under the command of Quinictilus Varus Publius.
Having unified the great Time Enemies, one by one Otto finds his daughters. All but his darling Martha. Reluctantly he calls off the search for her. It is an end.
Only there are no real endings in Time. Only loose ends and repetitions and loops. Loops which ultimately lead Otto back through a maze of endings – back to the beginning, where – in a part of his life he does not recall – Otto was first pitted against their arch enemy, Kolya.
It is there, in old London, in 1709, that Otto encounters the great Bard himself, William Shakespeare, who, influenced by Otto, writes a new play – ‘Of Time And Tides’ – his greatest play, as it turns out; a tale of time travel and mystery and love.
While somewhere else, long centuries on, we find Martha, ‘The Lost Girl’, pursuing a war that stretches across time and space. Against the one true Master of Time … Kolya.