I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
It’s the year 2446 and time travel is now possible, albeit illegal. But as always, there’s a black market, and those with enough cash and clout can request items from the past.
This black market is run by multiple underground syndicates and their Runners—who jump through time to retrieve the desired item. Stassi is a Runner for the Atlic Syndicate, located on a small and isolated island in the Caribbean. Her next assignment relocates her and her partner Gaige to 1920s Paris—filled with expats, artists, writers, and flappers—in search of a lost manuscript.
But Stassi’s run to 1920s Paris is about more than work. Abandoned by her parents at the age of four, the only thing Stassi has left of her family is a necklace—one she’s seen adorning the neck of an elegant woman, photographed in 1924 Paris.
But the search for the manuscript—and necklace—gets more complicated, because for the first time in syndicate history, the past isn’t playing out as it should. A new serial killer, known as the Night Gentlemen, pops up right as Stassi and Gauge arrive in the City of Light.
Anyone could be the Night Gentleman, including Stassi’s new suitor Charles Dupree. A charming man, Stassi knows a relationship isn’t possible—he’s from the past, and she’ll have to leave—but she can’t seem to stay away.
I was interested in Sophie Davis’ The Syndicate because I haven’t read a lot of time travel books, and the ones that I have read are more so based in magic not science. Which means I was a little disappointed that The Syndicate didn’t go a little bit more in depth on how they time traveled, besides the element placed under the skin of all Runners. There were also some congruency errors, but they were minor.
Additionally, the pacing was a little slow—which is especially problematic since this is a longer book. The opening of the novel is all action, a chase through old Italy, but then we spend a lot of time just getting straight background information.
That being said, once Stassi and Gaige landed in 1920s Paris I was hooked. Not only do I love the era and expats—including but not limited to Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, and the Fitzgeralds—but that portion of the book was full of intrigue and mystery.
I thought the Night Gentlemen serial killer plot was an interesting twist and kept me on my toes, as well as the quest for origins of Stassi’s necklace.
Plus I really enjoyed Stassi and Gaige as characters. Stassi is strong willed and witty, Gaige is like an annoying and goofy older brother. Their relationship added some humor to the otherwise serious novel.
The budding romance between Stassi and Charles Dupree was also appreciated. His character was fun and thoughtful, and I enjoy the mystery behind him. The fact that they’re from different times also adds some complexity to it.
The ending was a shock and left me pinning for the next book.