The Revisionists

The Revisionists

by Thomas Mullen


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A fast-paced literary thriller that recalls dystopian classics such as 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, from the award-winning author of The Last Town on Earth.

Zed is an agent from the future. A time when the world's problems have been solved. No hunger. No war. No despair.

His mission is to keep it that way. Even if it means ensuring every cataclysm throughout history runs its course-especially The Great Conflagration, an imminent disaster in our own time that Zed has been ordered to protect at all costs.

Zed's mission will disrupt the lives of a disgraced former CIA agent; a young Washington lawyer grieving over the loss of her brother, a soldier in Iraq; the oppressed employee of a foreign diplomat; and countless others. But will he finish his final mission before the present takes precedence over a perfect future? One that may have more cracks than he realizes?

The Revisionists puts a fresh spin on today's global crises, playing with the nature of history and our own role in shaping it. It firmly establishes Mullen as one of the most exciting and imaginative writers of his generation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316176736
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 10/23/2012
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 783,806
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Thomas Mullen is the author of The Last Town on Earth, which was named Best Debut Novel of 2006 byUSA Today and was awarded the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction, andThe Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers. His books have been named Best of the Year by such publications as the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, theAtlanta Journal-Constitution, The Onion, and He lives with his wife and sons in Atlanta.

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The Revisionists 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
katiekrug on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿Believe instead that I was tricked, that I was a dupe, that I was just another misguided idealist, that I had enough love in my heart that I dared to imagine a better world, something closer to perfect.¿ (page 403-404)Zed works for the Department of Historical Integrity in the future, where he is tasked with going back in time to ensure that the events leading to the Perfect Present are not disrupted. But there are others ¿ historical agitators or ¿hags¿ ¿ also in the Perfect Present who go back in time to try to disrupt history. Zed¿s job, essentially, is to make sure the Holocaust ravages European Jewry, or that two cities in Japan are destroyed by atomic bombs, or that a group of men are able to successfully crash airplanes into buildings. But it¿s all for a good cause, since these events had to happen before the world could come to the Perfect Present.Zed is on a fairly routine assignment in Washington, DC when things start to go wrong. What his assignment has to do with a young corporate lawyer, a diplomat¿s servant, and an ex-spy and how these four storylines cross and tangle is at the heart of the novel. It¿s part speculative fiction, part spy thriller, part philosophical rumination on the role of the individual in history; the first half of the book was very good, but I felt it lost something as the various narrative lines began to come together. It may just have been that I wasn¿t able to read it in large enough chunks, but I kept losing the thread of the story and forgetting how certain things were connected. Mullen is obviously very talented, though, and based on the strength of his writing and good reviews of his other books, I look forward to reading more by him.
gbelik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps my expectations were too high because I loved The Last Town on Earth, but I was a little disappointed in this time-travel story/thriller.I wanted for focus on the people in the book and less action and adventure. Nevertheless, it kept me reading and I certainly won't fail to pick up any of Mullen's future novels.
julie10reads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An agent from the future where all the world¿s problems have been solved goes back in time to ensure that every disaster throughout history runs its course¿. Zed lives in a world that is traumatized by memories of a terrifying past and determined to prevent that past from occurring again. Through time travel, Zed is sent back to our present time to ensure that nobody gets in the way of a soon-to-happen conflagration that ultimately leads to his own amnesiac future. This is either a novel about a horrifying future in which dissent is crushed before it starts and history is altered to fit the present, or an equally horrific present in which corporate interests and lawmakers collude and the apparatus of enforcement is progressively outsourced. Maybe it¿s about both. Summary from BPLThe best sci-fi literature holds a mirror to the present. What is happening now is merely reflected in a future landscape far away enough to prevent us from recognizing ourselves. The bonus is the cool technology and hindsight.Thomas Mullen delivers a political spy thriller that just happens to include time travel, historical agitators from the future dubbed ¿hags¿, Genescans and internal mics. You can¿t tell the good guys from the bad and nobody is what they seem to be. About two-thirds through when Zed is beginning to doubt the morality of his job as Protector of Events, I began wondering if the surprise was going to be like something out of The Manchurian Candidate: is Zed an operative who has been brainwashed into thinking he is from the future? (That would have been okay too.)The pace is satisfyingly relentless throughout the 400 pages. Even though all the threads of the different characters¿ stories entwine at the end, the conclusion is still open to interpretation. And the reader is left to wonder who the revisionists actually are.8.5 out of 10 and recommended to readers who enjoy mysteries, political espionage and futuristic literature.
sparemethecensor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a novel where each chapter is told from a different character's point of view, it can be difficult to make readers care about every character and every plotline. This is where The Revisionists fails. For the first third of the book, I was only interested in two of the four characters. In the second third, I lost interest in one of those two and gained interest in another. I never for a second cared about Tasha, her dead brother, her law firm, her activist friend, or really anything about her at all. I approached Tasha chapters with dread. That made it difficult to get through this book, because much as I wanted to know what was going on with Leo and what would happen to Sari, they weren't the only ones to read about. Science fiction fans interested in time travel will be disappointed, as here, the time travel is really just a conceit to get Zed to the past and let him have his grand revelation. This book has few science fiction elements after the opening chapter. Three stars: not bad, but not above average.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very unusual novel, ostensibly a thriller about time travel and about competing forces from the future trying to preserve or disrupt historical events in our current era. But actually, I would say that¿s not mainly what this book is about at all. The author wants us to think about some very fascinating questions, and uses some common tropes of science fiction to spark our contemplation.There are only a small number of actors in the book. The main character, Zed, is from the future, working as a Protector in the Disasters Division of the Department of Historical Integrity. He has come to present day D.C. to ensure that a coming planetary-wide cataclysm does take place: He must let the horrible events unfold that lead to the ¿Great Conflagration,¿ a nuclear-laced disaster that eventually will lead in the far future to a realignment of the races and permanent peace. Protectors need to be on hand because ¿hags¿ or historical agitators also go to the past to try to disrupt what they consider to be deleterious historical patterns. For example, the hags wanted to prevent the Holocaust. But as Zed explains:"They wanted to save those millions of innocent lives. An admirable goal. But that would have altered history. Meaning, it would have altered our Perfect Present. ¿[and then] the suffering would never end. All the problems we¿ve solved, all the broken aspects of society we¿ve fixed, all the efforts we¿ve made to eliminate human meanness and frailty ¿ these accomplishments must be protected, no matter the cost.¿But here¿s the rub: Very bad means are justifying good ends. Moreover, can human meanness and frailty actually ever be eliminated? Is Zed¿s society all that he thinks it is? Maybe the hags are right: maybe stopping all the death and destruction would have been better in the long run. But wait: another complication: The hags themselves wouldn¿t exist if history had changed. So does history go on unchanged but on different trajectories? I.e., if you could change the past, would there have to be multiple realities or universes? [This proposition by the way is congruent with the current thinking of many theoretical physicists, who have proposed the multiverse idea not only to explain some unresolved conundrums but as a result of the predictions of two popular theories, that of eternal inflation and that of string theory. As usual, science fiction treads along the cutting edge of science itself.] And there are more questions to think about. Can one person ¿ any one person ¿ actually make an impact? In some ways, we all want to ¿make a difference¿ in our lives ¿ to distinguish ourselves from the other seven billion people on Earth. But is it really possible, in the way that the beat of a butterfly¿s wings could theoretically cause a hurricane on the other side of the globe several weeks later? Or what if the one person is Hitler or Stalin or Churchill ¿ will events unfold more or less in the same way without that person? If nothing we do matters and the past is already prologue (so that in retrospect it is fated to occur), what happens to the idea of God and free will? And if you do change the course of history and thereby affect the lives of millions of people, aren¿t you, in effect, playing God?Further, does remembering make a difference? Is it better for developmental evolution if we forget the past or try to remember it? And what we remember: is it truth, or is it a fiction constructed by our selective memories or by victors or mediated by our desires for the ways we wish things had been? Other characters who get involved in the clash between protectors and disruptors of history include Leo, a former CIA agent, now doing intelligence for an outside contractor; Tasha, a corporate attorney whose brother¿s death in Iraq has made her challenge her assumptions about the government; T.J., a political activist who wants to change the world; Sari, an Asian immigrant
msf59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿All the conspiracy theories are true, Zed.¿This one starts out like gangbusters. Zed is from the future. He comes from a ¿Perfect Society¿ and his job is to maintain this utopia, by returning to the past and making sure nothing disrupts his idyllic world. This is not a simple mission, due to the fact that ¿hags¿ are also being sent back from the future, to alter history, in what they think will ¿help¿ their own future. So this becomes a spy thriller and a time travel adventure with conspiracies galore: is the future ¿really¿ the future, is the past better left alone? Yes, it¿s very ambitious story-telling and Mullen writes in clear crisp prose, unfortunately the second half of the book, bogs itself down with multiple narrative threads, that choke the excitement of the 1st half, so it becomes more of a mixed-bag, which is really to bad, because I thought this one was heading for a top-notch rating. Hey, others have loved this book, so if this premise interests you, give it a shot.
Enamoredsoul on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Operative "Z" is living in what is known as the Perfect Present, a time in the future where everything is seemingly idyllic. He is a "Revisionist", someone who goes back in time to ensure that the events in history unfold as they should in order for the present (future) to remain as it is. He is opposed by "hags", who are rebels that have traveled back in time in order to change the future by interrupting the events that take place in the present, in order to alter the future. Believing that the integrity of the Perfect Present must be maintained, Zed toils hard, enduring the hardship of loneliness and isolation, in order to do his job. Currently in the early 21st century, right before the era of Conflagration that results in extreme war and destitution. Finding himself alone, and craving human interaction, despite being instructed to leave no (or minimal) trace of their existence in the past, Operative "Z" begins interacting with Tasha, who has lost a brother to the war. Also, there is Leo, an ex-CIA operative in the present who is now in the business of accumulating information, especially on people in powerful positions, and is a spook for hire. And, there is Sari, an Indonesian domestic help who has a horrible boss but cannot escape the situation because of her lack of status and legal papers. Slowly, sometimes painfully so, the lives of these four characters intersect - intertwining with one another to create a plot both thrilling and convoluted at the same time."The Revisionists" is actually an excellent novel, with the author exploring the philosophies of government, politics, racism, history, and sense of personal identity. This novel goes beyond being just a good story, and the story itself becomes a metaphor representing our society - the four different characters becoming representative of the various different perspectives of the common man. What I loved about this novel was this representation and exploration of ideas. What made it a little difficult to enjoy was how convoluted the plot became at one point, and how the book takes a lot of build up before it gets really interesting. However, that being said, if one can stick with it through the first 150 pages, the book becomes immensely interesting. Also, as a forewarning, because this is a novel designed to make you think, it doesn't leave with a simple ending, and instead, is fashioned to leave you with lingering questions that will keep you thinking long after you've finished turning the pages of the book. Personally, I did not mind this at all, in fact I welcomed the thoughts and questions that this book raises. I would definitely recommend it to fans of dystopian and psychological thrillers.
Joles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to this book. I felt it was a little long in parts. Some may find the philosophy intriguing but it made it harder for me to get through the book. While I am a fan of dystopian works this one started a little slow for me. It picks up about 2/3rds of the way though. Stick with and and you won't be disappointed.
Gwnfkt12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even just reading the short blurb about this book on the Early Reviewer's page, I loved everything about the idea of this book. It's the story of a future time-traveler who comes back to the present to protect an event which would lead to a perfect existence, a utopia of sorts, but who ends up falling in love amidst assassins, government officials, and diplomats who all want the event to take place but now involving the love of the time-traveler's life. It's a big, fat, complicated mess of intertwining stories and interconnected pasts, where no one is what they seem and everyone's motives are selfish. Zed is sent back to our present as part of the future's "disasters division" to protect an event called the Great Conflagration that would supposedly wipe out most of the human race and leave just enough information and people for the world to start over and become what they viewed as a utopia. The reality turns out to be far from Utopian as Zed learns through his latest mission that not all "events" are worth protecting, especially not when they will result in the death of the one you've fallen in love with. Zed, in the present time, is using the alias of Troy Jones, a man very much connected to the "event" and with many enemies. The love interest in this case is Tasha, a woman with conflicting interests and a brother who died mysteriously in the service. Several other characters add an interesting subplot to the story, depicting the lives of the other mostly-innocent individuals involved in the events leading up to the Great Conflagration. These characters add some balance to what would otherwise be a story completely based on science fiction. Instead we have T.J. who runs an underground website about political activism, Sari who is an Indonesian woman working in the household of a South Korean diplomat, and Leo who tries to deal with his downfall as a CIA agent while trying to save Sari and blackmailing Tasha and spying on T.J. These characters shine amongst the villains of the novel, despite their own downfalls and morality issues, and provide a charming background for Zed's enlightening realization that there is no such thing as utopia without knowledge and free will. The writing here was genius, perfectly playing some characters against others and tying everything together at the end with a nice, neat bow. As a reader, I cared enough about the good characters to keep me interested but it was really my hatred of the villains and the mysteries of Zed's counterpart (Troy Jones) that kept me turning the pages. I couldn't put this book down until I knew how all these characters were connected to the ultimate "event" and even on the final pages there was enough intrigue to make me want to read this story again and again. There are so many wonderful details that make this book fantastic and worthwhile. Definitely recommended for anyone who likes time-travel, politics, and suspense.
usagijihen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just a warning, guys, if you don¿t like books that make you think, you should probably avoid this one. This is not exactly the most feel-good book of the year, but it is one of the most thought-provoking. It¿s puzzles within puzzles, and it asks us what history really is ¿ is it fashioned by the victors? The losers? And are we all just footnotes in something larger? I had a lot of fun with this book, that¿s for sure.I do have to say, though, that the first part of the second half of the book did get a bit muddled in politics and the turf wars between all of the different American clandestine intelligence divisions, as well as the question of the real identity of Troy Jones (and why is he so important?), and then there¿s an overlaying of the layer of is Zed going native (well, in terms of time), what really is the Perfect Present, and so forth. This is not an easy book to navigate, but it is very thrilling, and full of adventure. The character cast is pretty large, but it¿s not difficult to keep track of everyone, and Mullen very masterfully connects the dots in the webs-within-webs of characters that he¿s created. Once the pieces started coming together, it was really quite impressive, and I enjoyed myself even more. And the way Mullen phrases certain events (like the way he phrased 9/11) is absolutely chilling in its clarity and startling to behold. But not off-putting. If anything, it just made me want to finish the book faster, devour the story quicker, and understand everything he was trying to say with Zed¿s journey.I really liked the fact that the author, through the voice of Zed/Troy Jones and other characters was really challenging us to think on what defines history and how small we are within the passage of time. How everything can be changed in a moment ¿ turning left instead of right, talking to someone you don¿t know instead of not, and how all of this can literally change your future (and past) and present all at once. He doesn¿t muddle us down with the actual science of time travel itself, so I think that for the average thriller and/or sci-fi fan, this will be pretty easy to navigate, but if you¿re not really into time-travel books, it might get a bit confusing. Hell, it¿s confusing for Zed/Troy Jones himself, and he more than once questions if this is all just a delusion he¿s cooked himself into rather than real life, or a mindgame that his co-workers are trying to angle him into. Mullen is not afraid to really mess with his characters¿ minds, and that¿s refreshing. Torturing one¿s character is not easy to do, but when you do it, it shows you¿re dedicated. And I like that in my authors.Even with the minor confusion in certain points in the book, and the question of what the Perfect Present really is (or how far it is from now) never being answered, I really enjoyed this book. This book is about the ones who go back to make sure history happens, and Mullen portrays that story well. My own questions about this future don¿t really matter because they were never the aim of this book. Definitely a book you should read when you get some serious time you can set aside for pondering and mulling over after you¿ve reached the end.(posted to librarything, goodreads, shelfari, and
suetu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A novel of ideas dressed in genre tropesZed is an operative from the distant future, the Perfect Present. He is one of the sad souls tasked with working for the Disasters Division of the ultra-secret Department of Historical Integrity. Basically, he immerses himself in a past historical period (his ¿beat¿), and then travels to that time to assure by any means necessary that past disasters (like the Holocaust and 9/11) occur as they were meant to. There are extremists factions from his time who have also acquired time travel technology, and these historical agitators¿or ¿hags¿ as they are known¿will stop at nothing to alter the past. But without maintaining the painful events of the past, the Perfect Present can never be achieved. He believes in the importance of what he is doing.Zed¿s current beat is the early 21st century, just before the Great Conflagration and its decades of war and strife. He has adopted the identity of ¿contemp,¿ Troy Jones. The Department sets operatives up with identities and covers that are similar in appearance and even history so that they can more easily blend in. Operatives are to leave as little ¿trace¿ in the timeline as possible. But Zed/Troy has been on the job a long time. He¿s tired, bored, and lonely. That¿s why he approaches Tasha; she¿s of no historical importance. Or is she?Tasha is the second of several main characters in this complex drama. Another is Leo, an idealistic former government spook, who is now a private spook for hire. Leo¿s trajectory intercepts that of Tasha, Troy Jones, and Sari, a domestic servant in the home of Korean diplomats. Are you following so far? There¿s a lot of story here, and I¿ve barely brushed the surface. There is no need to know more than this because the novel¿s plot is far too convoluted to summarize. Also, there are several twists and surprises that shouldn¿t be spoiled.The novel described above sounds plot-heavy, and it is, but make no mistake, The Revisionists is a novel of ideas. Thomas Mullen is exploring ideas about race, politics, nationality, morality, history, identity, conspiracy, government, whether ends justify means, and so much more. It¿s a lot to take in, to the point that I was feeling slightly overwhelmed at times, but I love novels that make you think. They tend to stay with me long after I¿ve set them aside. Mullen¿s is full of moral ambiguity, gray areas, and characters that can be hard to get a handle on.It¿s worth noting that when I picked up this novel, I did not realize that it was set in my hometown, Washington DC. The setting of the novel is integral to the story, and Mullen, a former resident, does a great job fleshing out the reality of a city like no other. There¿s a lot about this novel that is challenging, and I can¿t even imagine how Mr. Mullen kept track of his sprawling and complicated tale, but it works. It really does. If this sounds like your kind story, it is recommended with one caveat: Do not expect this novel to be wrapped up neatly and tied with a bow. Be prepared to live with an element of ambiguity and questions that may nag after you¿ve put the novel down.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lately I seem to be reading a lot of time manipulative books. Between The Revisionists, The Map of Time and the newest Lawhead series, someone seems to have put out a memo screaming ¿ ¿MESS WITH TIME, IT WILL MESS WITH YOUR READERS!¿. Because that¿s what messing with time does; it messes with my head.The Revisionists is a fascinating look at ¿what if¿. What if you could go back in time to fix a wrong, to stop Hitler, to prevent the assassination of Lincoln.. you get the point. What if, in fixing those wrongs and saving those lives ¿ from one to millions, you changed a world that was ¿perfect¿ in the future to an ¿unknown¿ type of future. Would it be worth it? Who makes that decision?Thomas Mullen deals with those questions and more in The Revisionists. The ¿good guys¿ are those who are going back in time to stop the past from being rewritten. There¿s action, adventure, quite a bit of science and a whole lot of fun in this book. But, again, it messed with my mind, as all time traveling stories seem to do.I think, though, that The Revisionists puts a really new, interesting twist on it all. It addresses new and old political crises, as well as puts the reader in the spot of needing to choose a side as they read through the story. Fascinating book and I¿ll be on the lookout for more from Mullen in the future.
dgmlrhodes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very excited when I received a complimenatary copy of this book from the Library Thing Early Reviewers program! This is a great book and has the framework to generate some interesting book club discussions. I have always been interested in the concept of time travel and the implications. This book has some interesting twists that make it a must read. For example, if you have a "perfect present" what would you do to protect it? If you were able to travel back in time and prevent events such as 9/11 or the holocaust from happening, would you try to avert those events even if it meant jeopardizing the "perfect present"? Thomas Mullen allows his characters to make that debate for themselves and shows the anguish they experience in that decision making process. There is commentary on today's society that was interesting and again, could generate lots of debate. The book walks the line between a thriller and a literary novel that is extremely hard to achieve. It balances the ego who wants the cerebral challenge of an interesting literary novel, and the Id who wants to read a fast paced thriller with lots of action. Of all of the benefits of this novel, it was this balance that made this such a good read for me. Overall, if you are looking for a good bookclub discussion, this is your read!
justabookreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Time travel can be an iffy subject. How much can you mess with the timeline and keep readers stretching their grasp on reality before it snaps. In The Revisionists, Mullen asks both the reader and his main character to do just that. Zed is an agent sent back to present day Washington, DC by the Department of Historical Integrity to ensure an event, a catastrophic event involving the death of millions of people, takes place and guarantees his society¿s existence and way of life. In his timeframe, all of society¿s problems have been solved --- there is no hunger, no war, just a happy peace. Or that¿s what the leaders in his time want him to believe. He begins questioning the need for his so-called mission wondering if letting people die will in fact lead to the perfect society he lives in.Lonely and convincing himself it¿s research, Zed begins interacting with contemporary individuals finding their lives and problems are not far from his own. Part of his mission is to leave as small a trace as possible of his existence. Zed¿s footprint is huge and continues to grow. There are too many openings and far too many people involved for him to walk away unnoticed. Another problem --- it seems the Department didn¿t do a very good job with his cover identity since individuals keep recognizing him. He wonders if it could be a coincidence or if there is something mentally wrong with him. He knows he should break off all contact with the people he¿s now interested in --- especially a young Washington lawyer, Tasha, reeling from the death of her brother in Iraq --- but he can¿t. The circle widens and Zed can¿t step back and soon ends up on the CIA, FBI, and a covert intelligence group¿s radar.Mullen plays with the concepts of history and time making for one confusing story but not in a bad way. In a few areas, I had no idea why things were happening, and while some things are tied up neatly, I was left wondering where all this was going but wasn¿t that the point? This is a book about a time traveler with questions about his future and how the past plays into it but he has no real answers because he doesn¿t understand the implications of his mission anymore than you do. Mullen plays with you. Dangles clues in front of you and doesn¿t give you the answers you want. From the perspective of the time traveler, Zed, it¿s brilliantly done. You agonize over his questions too with no answers or solutions forthcoming.Zed¿s mission involves stopping people from the future --- he calls them hags --- who are trying to impede the great conflagration from taking place and hopefully save lives in the process. He wrestles with whether or not it¿s right to let these people die so individuals in his time can live as they do. But he also wonders about his time and if it is as truly perfect as he¿s been led to believe. Has he been lied to? Zed can¿t forget the questions he has and this uncertainty takes a toll on him mentally and physically. Every character in this book struggles with right and wrong and where those lines intersect. While there¿s no predicting how someone will react, or what will actually happen if someone who was supposed to die lives, Zed starts taking chances. It¿s interesting to see where it leads him and several of the characters.Mullen creates a captivating theme throughout --- do the decisions we make really change anything but our own fate? What you¿ll find is that there are no answers but an interesting story full of questions along the way.
RidgewayGirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the newest book by Thomas Mullen, who wrote my favorite book of the year (so far), The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers. This was completely different, being a dystopian thriller where Zed is a revisionist; his job is to travel back in time to stop hags (historical agitators), who travel back to disrupt key events and so to change history and jeopardize The Perfect Present, a world where there is no war or ethnic conflict, but where there is also no history.Zed's been sent to a somewhat contemporary Washington, DC, where he works to not prevent or delay The Great Conflagration, which was an admittedly bad stretch of time for people, but it led to The Perfect Present, and so must happen.Leo used to work for the CIA; back when he was finishing graduate school, 9/11 happened and he joined in a fit of patriotism. He worked to infiltrate terrorist groups in Indonesia and he hasn't been back in Washington long. He's now working in the private sector, doing essentially similar work, but targeting American dissidents and agitators. He meets by happenstance an Indonesian maid to a family of South Korean diplomats. She's been abused, and is being treated as a slave. Sari's lonely and happy to hear her own language spoken by this seemingly trust-worthy man.Tasha lost her brother. He was serving in the military and she's not satisfied with the sketchy details she's been given about his death. She meets Zed at a candlelight vigil and they connect. She's also connected to Leo, who's tailing her because of her friendship with an activist who runs a wikileaks-type of website that is embarrassing some of the corporations doing security work for the government.The plot of The Revisionists is complex and always changing direction. It's never simple, just as the characters are never entirely pure. Their motives are usually good, although this leads them to often act at cross purposes. How can you find out what the right thing to do is, when everybody lies, especially the good guys? And is it worth sacrificing the past to make a better future?
kalky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Revisionists by Thomas Mullen is a literary thriller with a sci-fi twist. After an event known in the future as the "Great Conflagration," the world has become a utopia -- the "Perfect Present" -- and the Government is determined to keep it that way. Based on the idea that all of the horrible things from the past (the Holocaust, 9/11, etc.) must occur in order for the Perfect Present to be achieved, the Government sets out to ensure the tragedies despite the presence of historical agitators (hags) who have learned the Government's secret to time travel, and go back in time to try to stop various atrocities. One of the main characters in The Revisionists, Zed, is a government agent from the future who is sent to ensure an assassination takes place in our present day that is one of the pieces that will lead to the Great Conflagration.Throughout the book, other narrators are introduced: Tasha is a corporate lawyer whose brother was killed in Iraq; Leo is a disgraced CIA agent now working for a security firm; and Sari is an Indonesian nanny/maid who is working for a Korean diplomat. Their stories intertwine in a sometimes-confusing manner throughout the book, and the alternating perspectives can get a little frustrating if you have to put the book down often as you read it. That combined with the fact that Mullen's plot is a complex one leads me to recommend that you have a lot of time to read if you're going to sit down with The Revisionists.Mullen's tendency to turn a fancy phrase sometimes became a distraction for me as I read. When immersed in a thriller, I don't expect (or even want) to admire a well-used metaphor or lovely sentence. I want the story, and Mullen's delivery made that difficult. The ending also left me quite dissatisfied; for example, I found myself skimming through one character's protracted death scene with barely an ounce of interest.I'm curious to read Mullen's other work because there are moments when I really enjoyed his writing. Unfortunately this book fell a little flat for me.**I was provided an Advance Reader Copy of this book through, and I was not paid to do this review.**
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KenCady More than 1 year ago
Thomas Mullen creates a frightening world where the government has outsourced so much of its intelligence work that the outsourcees maybe have just a bit too much power and no oversight. So if they are going to use their knowledge for bad, who can stop them? One thing is for sure- this book will make you think while it entertains you with a fascinating story.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
The government insures history does not repeat the mistakes of the past. Thus when agent Zed's wife and daughter die in an accident, he is granted two months to grieve his loss. When his allowed mourning time ends, operatives arrive at his apartment to remove any hint they lived. Zed understands the importance of prevention as his job is to insure the past happens but not repeated in the present. His current assignment is to go back in time to insure the early twenty-first century great Conflagration occurs by protecting the Events that led up to this calamity from the Revisionists time traveling historical agitator Hags who want to rewrite history. At a parking lot overlooking the Potomac he eliminates two Hags trying to prevent the abduction of a reporter. However, he soon finds himself butting heads with Leo the former CIA agent, Tasha the corporate lawyer grieving her loss, and Sari the Indonesian maid enslaved by a nasty Korean couple. This thriller is a super tale in which the "perfect" future is protected at all costs to the past. Rather than trying to prevent the Event that shapes the future, Zed and the government protect the Events leading to the big one. Although there is stereotyping and hyperbole in the modern day, the spin on the world's problems is fascinating as to the victors go the Revisionists history books in which the masses numbly accept as truth even when it is harmful to those individuals. Readers will appreciate the present and future converging in DC. Harriet Klausner