Timeless Passages

Posted in Audio by - August 19, 2018
Timeless Passages

Released August 2006

As Bev Tarrant continues to try to prove that the Braxiatel Collection is operating at full capacity with her in control, Bernice is sent to the great Labyrinth of Kerykeion that has for years preserved otherwise lost volumes of human publications in order to acquire rare volumes for the Collection before the Labyrinth’s new corporate owners destructively make their presence known. Unfortunately, her hopes for a silent and reflective academic journey are soon interrupted by a murder and a final effort to save this library as ancient powers begin to stir.

Daniel O’Mahony has written short stories featuring Bernice Summerfield before, but ‘Timeless Passages’ marks his first feature-length affair, and his imagination and characterisation hit all of the right notes from the very start to offer a truly classic adventure in every sense of the word. Bernice, of course, is right at home in this maze of ancient tomes, but she rather amusingly manages to insult the planet’s owner before she even gets a chance to begin her mission. She understands that these writings are both a historical source of power and a current way of remembering what has occurred before, and Technocult understands that humans have a way of altering the facts of the past to reconcile whatever circumstances the present holds and that physical copies are the one way to preclude that from happening.

Lisa Bowerman has never had any trouble displaying an immense and believable range of emotion, but the strong and twisting scripting only further spotlights her talents in a production full of incredible performances. Though Bernice feels that there are plenty of non-human cultures that deserve to be enshrined in a location like this, she nonetheless hates the idea of it being lost, and Lisa Bowerman and Keith Drinkle who plays the librarian Archibald Spool form an immense chemistry as the danger around them continues to intensify. Though she is not above initially wondering if Spool is behind the murder or Samuel Wolfe in order to keep the library open, the introduction of a psychotic and murderous knight and her belief in Occam’s Razor give her a new prime suspect on which to focus while also creating a source of genuine humour within what is otherwise a fairly weighty affair.

This is actually a very straightforward story when all is revealed as Bernice and Katarina Olsson’s Hermione each try to remain alive and save the contents of this world, but the bevy of red herrings and the complex layering that all stems from a technicality in intergalactic contract negotiation make for a thrilling experience that is anything but obvious and predictable as it unfolds. The preserving Idolons that have been at the library since the beginning are an intriguing presence and source of mystery, but the fact that the library can preserve bodies as well as books is a wonderful conceit that gives extra resonance to the actions of Wolfe who has intentionally brought baby Jean to this library to heal her of her bone-eating affliction, this entire planet slated to belong to her at midnight. The library has an even greater secret, though, and its vast collection resulting from its labyrinthine structure connecting to other structures throughout time and space creates an extra layer of complexity as past, present, and future collide at key moments to offer a satisfyingly cohesive tale that fully resonates.

With tremendous direction and sound design to atmospherically bring this evocative mystery to life in a well-paced and always-engaging manner, ‘Timeless Passages’ is definitive proof that a story does not need to tie into the larger plot arc or attempt to reach an epic scope to be successful, providing a tremendous and self-contained example of everything that the Bernice Summerfield range can achieve while making plenty of relevant references to everything that has come before.

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