Luther is almost enjoying a rainy day in Salem, Massachusetts on All Hallow’s Eve when his pursuit of a light-haired, light-skinned guy in a Pilgrim costume sends him crashing back in time to Salem 1692 and the start of the Salem witchcraft trials.
Ezekiel was only going about his chores when a gay, bi-racial man from the future dropped into his life. He doesn’t know Luther is from 2017, not from Boston. He doesn’t know that it’s OK to feel about a man the way he’s coming to feel about Luther. And he has no idea that the wealthy, white men running Salem are about to hang twenty people for the trumped-up crime of witchcraft.
Ezekiel has a lot to learn, both in bed and out, and he’s going to have to get up to speed fast if he and Luther are going to prevent a Colonial American tragedy, one that has already kind of happened. Is our future predestined? Or can Luther and Ezekiel change the course of their country for the better?
Content warning: Some unsympathetic secondary characters hold and express racist views. Most of these are immediately refuted by other characters, but a few comments go uncorrected.
His face was a silhouette against the moonlit window, but I could make out the shape of his mouth, the swell of his lips. I leaned forward and pressed my mouth lightly to his, tasting the salt of my tears on our joined lips.
“Why did you do that?” he asked when I drew back. His expression was frozen with something like fear, but there was a tone of wonderment in his voice.
“I thought you might like it. Did you?”
He rolled away, putting space between us. “I think I ought not to.”
“I won’t do it again if you don’t want me to.” I only had one friend in this century and there was no point in fucking that up, but I couldn’t have misread the hand-holding and chest-rubbing so completely, could I have?
“Is it a custom where you’re from?” he asked. “That men should kiss men?”
“Yes,” I answered with a sigh. “Where I’m from, men can kiss men if they want to. Not all men want to, but some do.”READ MORE
“Yes, like me.”
“And like me.” There was that tone of wonderment again. Because of course Ezekiel knew he was attracted to men—I hadn’t been wrong about that—he just didn’t have the right words for it. Or know that it was OK.COLLAPSE
The twist to this story is that it is not just a time travel book, but one where Luther travels to witness real events in history. Author Tanya Chris does a great job integrating the Salem witch trials into the story. We get to see it all first hand through Luther’s eyes as the town is whipped up into a frenzy, lead by those who are seeking to scapegoat the poor and underprivileged. It is an interesting perspective as Luther (and the reader) knows how things are going to go catastrophically wrong here. Many of the good people of Salem are convinced that things will all settle down before innocent people are killed, but Luther knows the truth. In fact, he knows exactly who is going to die. Chris does a nice job giving us the history of the events, while also weaving them into the fictional story and putting our MCs in the middle of the action.
AMF on Amazon wrote:
I loved Predestination Unknown. Maybe it isn't the first time I've ever seen a time travel story where the protagonist was actually able to change bad things, but it felt fresh. One of the happiest endings. I was really in suspense for most of it.
There are lots of historical m/m's out there, but this is really unusual. First it's time travel, which is a tricky theme to say the least, and next its not to a Regency period but rather to 1692 and the Salem witch trials. It was both charming and moving and really strong. I teared up, I loved both Ezekiel and Luther. I even loved Daffy the horse! I loved the descriptions. I loved the whole idea of it. I really loved when Luther explained to the children that the opposite of evil was kindness. This was both thought provoking and beautiful. I've read other books by Tanya Chris but this is in a world of it's own. Happy to recommend. I rate it a keeper.