Updated: Feb 13
Imagine waking up 400 years in the past or 400 years in the future as yourself, sans any of your current scars or tattoos, at your current age and with your current memories intact. Your environment and the people around you are unfamiliar. You may have been there for months or years, but you have no memory of that. As far as you know, you’ve only been there minutes. You arrived there via a portal while sleeping. This is what happens in T.O. Burnett’s amazing new novel, Circa 1740. It happens to a trio of friends—D’Quandray “The Stud” Tyson; Bradley, D’Quandray’s longtime friend and teammate; and Elijah, another longtime friend.
After deep consideration and thought, the three of them agree to experience time travel, but out of the trio, D’Quandray’s time travel experience is the most harrowing. D’Quandray chooses to travel to Jamestown, Virginia in 1740. He’s a slave. His living conditions are deplorable, and he witnesses and experiences savage and evil acts unimaginable to man.
After a knee injury, the championship star basketball player has to hang up his jersey, but he’s still a darling of the sports world and has a high paying job at a company where he doesn’t have to work very hard and where they use his fame to woo clients. Wherever he goes, he’s welcomed. Women are a recreational sport and his awareness of and concern about social issues, particularly when it comes to the plight of African Americans is nonexistent. Knowing the aforementioned about D’Quandray made his time travel for me the most intriguing. I was desperate to know if his experience as a slave would transform him or would he continue to believe that people, like his woke co-worker Maliq, were exaggerating the past and the impact it has had on African Americans today.
Burnett opens the novel with a breathtaking foot chase and the pacing, excitement, and suspense continues from there. His writing is so descriptive it pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. His character development is brilliant, and I immediately connected to the three men and the ancillary characters. His use of metaphors and similes are perfect. It’s apparent that he did painstaking research and plotting to layout the structure of this novel. The attention to detail regarding the time travel process is magnificent. As I read, I kept wondering to myself how he came up with this idea and how he was able to execute it so beautifully.
I found myself smiling one minute and crying my eyes out the next as I watched D’Quandry alternate between the past and his current life. I don’t want to give away the specifics. I want you to experience this novel like I did. It will move you, it will shock you, and hopefully it will change you for the better.