By Paul McAuley, Pyr, $16.00, 363 pages

10Alternate universes truly are the playgrounds of good writers. Cowboy Angels has some fun with the concept. Adam Stone was retired from an elite group of agents that goes from universe to universe establishing an organization of Americas. He was forced back when an old friend starts killing different versions of the same woman, and is quarantined into one universe. Stone must find him and bring him in. That is his entry into a mission to save the history that he knows from a much darker one.

This is a book for those that love secret agents more than logic-loving scientists. The biggest gripe here is the sheer number of stolen vehicles; the characters must be forced to rent vehicles, and even then they quickly ditch it for a stolen one. Otherwise, it is a great caper, involving nukes, apemen, and its own slang for what they do. Spies do more than blow things up, and their paranoia is thick enough to cut with a knife. It’s not hard to keep up, and the ride is a rollicking roller coaster ride. Anyone tired of the usual dry book about time-travel should give this one a try.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim