A Night at The King's Inn

Fiction - Time Travel
496 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

A Night at the King’s Inn by Alec Arbogast is time travel that introduces readers to an unusually interesting character, Theodore, a guy who likes to go unnoticed and who loves to keep to himself. The reader immediately feels his anti-social nature as they encounter him in the story. Accepting his sister’s invitation to an ultra-exclusive speakeasy in Manhattan’s West Village is one thing that is about to change him and reveal something about him that he never knew. Pulling the lever of an aberrant-looking gramophone at the event, the world around him shimmers and then peels away into splintered light, and he finds himself transported through a portal into a posh hotel and into a masquerade ball in twentieth-century England. The adventure will involve a coquettish young woman, cocktails, and a world that is as seductive as it is dangerous. Can he face his inner demons and rise up to the mystery unfolding before him?

A Night at the King’s Inn is well-plotted and written in prose that is exceptional. The descriptions are terrific and the imagery is captivating. The author transports readers to a completely new world and I enjoyed how the effects that vintage items have on the protagonist are portrayed, an experience revealing of the mystery that he is in. Character development is impeccable. When we meet Theodore, he is someone who does not feel comfortable in the world he lives in, and apart from being close to his younger sister, Alice, one immediately has an image of a terribly lonely person. His transformation as he transitions to another world, time and epoch is interesting.

Alec Arbogast establishes himself as a great storyteller, creating scenes that are surreal yet making them feel as though they were part of the reader’s world, thanks to the author’s ability to write settings that are believable and characters that are extraordinary. The social and economic settings are skillfully written. The writing brims with wonderful imagery, bringing the setting to life. “The city does have a capricious charm … with its dizzying patchwork of old and new…” and Alec makes this charm boldly visible to the reader’s mental gaze. This is one of the best books I have read on time travel; well-paced, intelligently plotted and executed with skill.

Jose Cornelio

A Night at the King's Inn by Alec Arbogast introduces readers to Theodore, an unsuspecting character who unwittingly finds himself transported to a mysterious and menacing masquerade ball in twentieth-century London. He is an introvert, the kind of person who lives as if he does not belong here. However, he has deep stirrings of a hidden longing. When his younger, adventure-loving sister Alice invites him to one of her outings and they wind up at an ultra-exclusive speakeasy in Manhattan's West Village, a vintage gramophone catches Theodore’s attention. But pulling the lever of the gramophone opens a portal and Theodore suddenly finds himself in a luxurious hotel in London. It is a different time and place, and meeting with a beautiful young woman is just part of the adventure that takes him through a dangerous landscape filled with cocktails and intrigue.

Alec Arbogast is a great storyteller and I must say that his gift for character is evidenced in this enthralling tale. The way the protagonist is developed is very clever and I enjoyed the contrast between his life back in Manhattan and what he becomes after being transported to another time and age. The characters leap off the pages with life. The prose is gorgeous, the plot well-imagined and intelligently written, with scenes that are vivid and detailed and an internal conflict that infuses the story with realism and humanity. A Night at the King's Inn is quite unlike anything I have ever read in the genre and it is altogether triumphant, a story that is dazzling with cultural elements, evoking a historical moment filled with intrigue. For time travel tale, its originality literally shouts at the reader; the story is unique, stimulating and cleverly written.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Time travel is such a fascinating anomaly – a scientific theory really, and one that has captured the imaginations of writers for generations. It’s not something anyone would expect to happen unless one was a scientist and had created their own time machine. Certainly, Theodore hasn’t created a time machine. When he visits the restored New York speakeasy, once popular in the Prohibition 1920s era, he’s fascinated with the display of historical photos from the speakeasy. One, in particular, captures his attention and he notices a figure in the corner of the photo wearing exactly what he’s wearing, actually showing Theodore. How is that possible? That’s when he finds himself drawn into a time warp and what follows leads him on adventures in multiple locations and different times. For an introvert, this is a challenge beyond anything he’s experienced before. And yet he must overcome the obstacles placed in his path to find his way back. That is, should he really want to return to his own time.

Alec Arbogast’s novel, A Night at The King’s Inn, is a thrilling adventure through time, complete with speakeasy incidents, masked balls, and compelling mysterious events. The characters are well presented and believable. The story begins with a hair-raising chase aboard a London-bound train, as one man tries to flee captors after the drawings for his inventions. The plot jumps to the present and into Theodore’s world, and the interweaving of time frames begins. Danger lurks at every twist and turn as the plot intensifies. The book is a real page-turner as readers won’t want to put it down until the very end. I think the most powerful part of this author’s writing is his descriptive narrative as he has the talent to make the reader feel totally immersed in the setting. Very strong writing.

Rabia Tanveer

A Night at The King's Inn by Alec Arbogast is a thriller tale of time travel that will have you hooked until the end. Theodore is used to the erratic behavior of his sister Alice. While he prefers his own company, Alice wants the attention of anyone and everyone on her. She searches for adventures, and Theodore is her reluctant companion. This time, they go to Manhattan's West Village, and that is where the trouble begins. A vintage gramophone opens the portal to 20th-century London, and there is nothing Theodore can do about it. He finds himself at a masquerade ball where he sticks out like a sore thumb. Theodore has no idea how he got there, how he will get out of there, and how he can get away from all these people. He needs to find a way out of there, and he needs to think fast. Can he?

Alec Arbogast sets the tone from the very beginning and makes sure the reader is hooked. The tension is thick; the author builds the mystery surrounding Theodore's travel to the masquerade ball and why it all happens. The preface is action-packed, and the author keeps the same momentum until the end of the story. I was not expecting this ending, but it turned out to be for the best. Alec Arbogast keeps surprising readers with different twists and turns in the story. The descriptions of the ball, of the costume, and the people around Theodore brought the story to life. Each character adds substance to the story. A Night at The King's Inn is a must-read novel for fans of Outlander and A Wrinkle in Time. Fascinating and exceptionally well-written.