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A Rebel in Time: 07/23/09
A Rebel in Time by Harry Harrison is a time travel / alternate history story that starts as a straight up mystery. Sergeant Harmon is sent to investigate a large amount of missing gold and some violent crimes all tied to a missing Colonel McCulloh.
Eventually Harmon learns of a secret government time machine project. To everyone's surprise, McCulloh has managed to make the machine work well enough to transport himself and his stolen gold back in time, a few years before the start of the Civil War.
The exciting bit of the book is supposed to be Sergeant Harmon going back in time at great personal risk both from the time travel itself and because he's a black man going into the South. Unfortunately the situation felt so contrived that it left me cold.
There was too much attention paid to making McCulloh EVIL and Harmon GOOD that neither character was all that credible or interesting. The good parts of the book (the time travel, science fiction bits) get lost in an otherwise humdrum Civil War re-enactment.