Tomorrow, by Nick Gifford
Luke Warner, the main character of Nick Gifford’s new novel “Tomorrow,” is fifteen when his father dies. Going through his father’s belongings however sets him on a path the like of which he could never have believed possible. His father, it seems, had knowledge of his future…
Except it isn’t quite as simple as that. Luke has two main friends, the spiky, somewhat insensitive (though only through inexperience), yet quite compassionate Alice, who turns out to be not quite what he expected, and his brother Alfie, who also isn’t quite what he appears to be. For this is a time-thriller, where everything has to be doubted…
Opening with sketches of the aftermath of Luke’s father’s death, the novel quickly spirals into a slightly unsettling narrative of strange men saying strange things, strange notes… and then Uncle Phil dies, in an event that seems to have been foreseen. Suddenly, Luke is thrown into a world of computer messages that say far more than their bland exteriors promise, odd events, odd messages, odd people. And then there is Helena. Helena somehow throws a much needed sense of normality into the narrative, but it is this book’s specialism to throw the reader a good number of curve balls, and Helena’s place in the strangeness is not as clear as initially suggested.
By half way through, we have future environmental disaster and social disorder thrown into the mix via the Freewavers, who may or may not know Luke, and who may or may not know that Alfie is in fact the important guy in all this.
By now, the plot is so thick it couldn’t be thickened. We are aware that time-based shenanigans are occurring, that various futures need to be safeguarded, that nobody is quite what they seem to be. As with Gifford’s other novels, the main trio here are very well portrayed – just ordinary teens in a world they don’t particularly want to inhabit and certainly don’t want to be a part of… especially if Helena’s version of the truth is actually true. “It’s a truly awful future, Luke… It really is all about survival.”
And that’s the core of this book. Is “it” really all about survival? Or is that another layer of the plot hidden from Luke, who does his best to understand things, but finds it so difficult? What would you do if push came to shove? How far would you go to safeguard the future? And, of course, beneath all this – when you know nothing, who do you trust?
Well, to read this book the reader does have to suspend disbelief of course, and with time-travel novels that can be difficult. Without revealing the truth of events and the ending, there are a couple of eye-opening plot twists that mean you have to go back to check things over… then try again.
Having read all of Gifford’s published work, I can say this is certainly as good as the others, albeit cut from a different cloth that may not be to your taste if you like the horror and aren’t so keen on twisty-turny plots… very twisty-turny plots. Don’t believe what any of the characters say!