Three Days to Never: A Novel

Three Days to Never: A Novel

by Tim Powers


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Three Days to Never by Tim Powers is a whip-smart scientific thriller cum fantasy novel that posits: what happened to Albert Enistein’s scientific discoveries that haven’t been unveiled? The answer lies in a old Charlie Chaplin movie, the Mossad, and an ancient European faction that will go to any lengths to keep past sins secret.

A young tween and her college professor father must quickly unveil the mystery of a potential weapon more deadly than an atomic bomb or our world—past, present, and future will be destroyed.

In this edition that includes additional insights from the author, background material, suggestions for further reading. and more, Tim Powers offers readers a suspenseful, intricate plot with an captivating narrative that includes not only lessons in history and science, but on human nature, too.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062221391
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/19/2013
Pages: 405
Sales rank: 1,014,373
Product dimensions: 5.42(w) x 7.82(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

Tim Powers is the author of numerous novels including Hide Me Among the Graves, Three Days to Never, Declare, Last Call, and On Stranger Tides, which inspired the feature film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award twice, and the World Fantasy Award three times. He lives in San Bernardino, California.

Read an Excerpt

Three Days to Never

A Novel
By Tim Powers

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Tim Powers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0380976536

Chapter One

"It doesn't look burned."

"No," said her father, squinting and shading his eyes with his hand. They had paused halfway across the weedy backyard.

"Are you sure she said 'shed'?"

"Yes--'I've burned down the Kaleidoscope Shed,' she told me."

Daphne Marrity sat down on a patch of grass and straightened her skirt, peering at the crooked old gray structure that was visible now under the shadow of the shaggy avocado tree. It would probably burn up pretty fast, if anybody was to try to burn it.

The shingled roof was patchy, sagging in the middle, and the two dusty wood-framed windows on either side of the closed door seemed to be falling out of the clapboard wall; it probably leaked badly in the rain.

Daphne had heard that her father and aunt had sometimes sneaked out here to play in the shed when they were children, though they weren't allowed to. The door was so low that Daphne herself might have to stoop to get through, and she was not a particularly tall twelve-year-old.

It was probably when they were too young to go to school, she thought. Or else it's because I was born in 1975, and kids are taller now than they were back then.

"The tree would have burned up too," she noted.

"You're going to get red ants all overyou. She might have dreamed it. I don't think it was a, a joke." Her father glanced around, frowning, clearly irritated. He was sweating, even with his jacket folded over his arm.

"Gold under the bricks," Daphne reminded him.

"And she dreamed that too. I wonder where she is." There had been no answer to his knock on the front door of the house, but when they had walked around the corner and pushed open the backyard gate they had seen that the old green Rambler station wagon was in the carport, in the yellow shade of the corrugated fiberglass roof.

Daphne crossed her legs on the grass and squinted up at him against the sun's glare. "Why did she call it the Kaleidosope Shed?"

"It--" He laughed. "We all called it that. I don't know."

He had stepped on what he'd been about to say. She sighed and looked toward the shed again. "Let's go in it and pull up some bricks. I can watch out for spiders," she added.

Her father shook his head. "I can see from here that it's padlocked. We shouldn't even be hanging around back here when Grammar's not home." Grammar was the family name for the old lady, and it had not made Daphne like her any better.

"We had to, to see if she really did burn it down like she said. Now we should see if"--she thought quickly--"if she passed out in there from gasoline fumes. Maybe she meant, 'I'm about to burn it down.' "

"How could she have padlocked it from the outside?"

"Maybe she's passed out behind the shed. She did call you about the shed, and she doesn't answer the door, and her car is here."

"Oh . . ." He squinted and began to shake his head, so she went on quickly.

" 'Screw your courage to the sticking place,' " she said. "Maybe there really is gold under the bricks. Didn't she have a lot of money?"

He smiled distractedly. " 'And we'll not fail.' She did get some money in '55, I've heard."

"How old was she then?" Daphne got to her feet, brushing down the back of her skirt.

"About fifty-five, I guess. She's probably about eighty-seven now. Any money she's got is in the bank."

"Not in the bank--she's a hippie, isn't she?" Even now, at twelve, Daphne was still somewhat afraid of her chain-smoking great-grandmother, with her white hair, her grinding German accent, and her wrinkly old cheeks always wet with the artificial tears she bought in little bottles at Thrifty. Daphne had never been allowed in the old woman's backyard, and this was the first time she'd ever been farther out than the back porch. "Or a witch," she added.

Daphne took her father's hand as a tentative prelude to starting toward the shed.

"She isn't a witch," he said, laughing. "And she isn't a hippie either. She's too old to have been a hippie."

"She went to Woodstock. You never went to Woodstock."

"She probably just went to sell her necklaces."

"As weapons, I bet," Daphne said, recalling the clunky talismans. The old woman had given Daphne one on her seventh birthday, a stone thing on a necklace chain, and before the day was out, Daphne had nearly given herself a concussion with it, swinging it around; when her favorite cat had died six months later, she had buried the object with the cat.

She tried to project the thought to him: Let's check out the shed.

"Hippies didn't have weapons. Okay, I'll look around in back of the shed."

He began walking forward, leading the way and holding her hand, stepping carefully through the dry grass and high green weeds. His brown leather Top-Siders ground creosote smells out of the bristly green stalks.

"Watch where you put your feet," he said over his shoulder, "she's got all kinds of old crap out here."

"Old crap," Daphne echoed.

"Car-engine parts, broken air conditioners, suits of medieval armor I wouldn't be surprised. I should carry you, your legs are going to get all scratched."

"Even skinny I'm too heavy now. You'd get apoplexy."

"I could carry two girls your size, one under each arm."

They had stepped in under the shade of the tree limbs, and her father handed her his brown corduroy jacket.

He shook his head as if at the silliness of all this, then waded through the rank greenery to the corner of the shed and disappeared around it. She could hear him brushing against the shed's far wall, and cussing, and knocking boards over.


Excerpted from Three Days to Never by Tim Powers Copyright © 2006 by Tim Powers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Three Days to Never 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was spellbound from the very first page. I¿ve never read anything quite like ¿Three Days To Never¿ by Tim Powers before. What a skillfully creative and imaginative novel. It was purely enjoyable. He goes where no one else has ventured. Just imagine a strange unfolding of spies trying to uncover the hidden secrets of Albert Einstein. There are other wonderful characters too such as Franklin Roosevelt and Charlie Chaplin. A father, Frank Marrity, and his twelve-year-old daughter Daphne are completely involved to their surprise ¿ their lives become a fantastical adventure beyond anything any one could imagine. Reading this novel is like being on a magic carpet ride that gets wilder with every turn. Tim Powers writes with a passion that has peaked my interest and curiosity and I feel compelled to venture deeper into his imagination. I¿m currently looking for his other works of wonderment. Bravo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1987 Frank Marrity's grandma dies suddenly during the New Age Harmonic Convergence. The family comes to the deceased¿s home in Pasadena where Frank¿s twelve years old daughter Daphne takes a videotape to watch. The flick is a lost Chaplin classic, but it does not leave the preadolescent watching it laughing. Instead some subliminal compelling symbols awaken a dormant fire starter-kinetic skill inside of Daphne to her trepidation her new talent leads to the burning of the tape. --- Not long afterward, Frank going through his grandmother¿s documents uncovers a shocking find that she was Albert Einstein's illegitimate daughter. Though he tries to keep this quiet until he can figure out what this means, two dangerous groups learn of his connection to the late great scientist. The Kabbalah cell of the Mossad and a Gnostic sect want Frank, Daphne and the documents both sides will do whatever to take what they covet as each believes that Einstein discovered a weapon more powerful than the atom bomb, but so fearful of its potential pandemic devastation, he refused to give this weapon of ultra mass destruction to even President Roosevelt. --- THREE DAYS TO NEVER is a superb science fiction espionage thriller that proves that Tim Powers (apropos name for this novel) writes tales faster than the speed of light. The action-packed story line is fast-paced yet never loses focus of the two Einstein offspring being in jeopardy with no one but themselves to trust. Readers will root for the precocious Daphne and her dad to defeat their adversaries, but the odds are overwhelming as the enemy comes from two sides and each moment a new one seems to arise. If relativity is genuine, this one sitting tale will receive several award nominations as one of the year¿s best thrillers. --- Harriet Klausner
tundranocaps on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book starts slow, but picks up in pace as it continues and plot-lines connect.Reminds one of Last Call (Mystic screening, etc.) and The Anubis Gates (Literature and time travel).Unlike his other books, where what we face we understand, and as time goes on we get revealed more and understand more, here we get revealed more from the get-go, but only understand it later.I think it was not the right book to translate, it came out in 2006 and was translated to Hebrew in 2008, but it was translated because he thanks people from the Israeli book scene and researched stuff during his visit here in 2005.Two things don't make sense, why did grandma have a gold swastika at the place she reached, and how did it get there?And why did Oren get a phantom-baby when he traveled back, shouldn't it only appear when he slingshots back to the present?
agirlandherbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A sci-fi-ish novel I'd have never picked up without reading a positive review, but what a reward! A father and daughter become enmeshed in a government plot, and the father not only sees the future, but has to make an incredibly difficult moral choice. I'll definitely be reading Tim Powers again.
cajela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another Tim Powers urban fantasy thriller, and if you like his style you won't be disappointed with this one. This book cleverly mixes up Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, the Nazis, Mossad, a time machine, and a man whose daughter might be dead in another timeline.It's fast paced, and the sheer abundance and verve of the telling make it hard to put down.
lewispike on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's almost redundant to say this is an odd book - it's a Tim Powers book after all. But even for him, it's an odd book.It's set (mostly) in 1987 LA and concerns the hidden inventions of Einstein - a machine that lets you travel in space and time, and a process that lets you completely remove someone from space-time. It mixes in psychic investigators and remote viewers from government programmes and a huge dose of literary material that initially makes sense and then becomes increasingly bizarrely related to the story.Despite all of that, it is a good read. It's a bit slow at times but it's fascinating and wonderfully done.
lithicbee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book by Tim Powers that I read and I thought it was pretty good if a bit confusing at times. But good confusing, like Lost. I haven't read anything in a while (not since the Illuminatus Trilogy maybe) that includes so much occult activities in a modern setting. You've got spies, psychic powers, poltergeists, telepathy, remote viewing, time travel, Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, a blind woman who sees out of other people's eyes (her memories of sex are of her own face, not her lovers'). It is a heady mix and it took me a little bit to get into it, but by the second half of the book it was whizzing along. And the ending actually made sense and explained everything to my satisfaction. Let's hope Lost can do the same!
Harlan879 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tim Powers is one of my favorite authors, but this is not one of my favorite of his books. There are a few clever aspects -- he always starts his books well, and the woman who can only see out of other peoples' eyes is a great idea. But the plot gets bogged down by a too-intricate and unpredictable supernatural plot, and he has too many characters and so can't focus enough on the core (as usual, mostly family) relationships. The climactic scene is written as if Powers was trying to get all the information from a complex 5-D map and schematic into text, and it just doesn't work. My suggestion is to re-read Declare instead.
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful. If you're a Powers fan, this will satisfy. If you're not a Powers fank, it's wonderful, though not the best introduction to powers that there is. Read it anyway. Once again Powers explores the impact of the past on our present perception of reality, the import of other dimensions, and how what we think and how we love is the most important thing we will ever do.
RoC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm never too sure what I think of Tim POwers books til i've read them several times. This one seemed to me like a return to the more compelling books he wrote set in contempory america (OK, I know its 1986, but thats contemporary enough) such as Last Call, and I did feel very involved with the characters. Still not sure i liked it as much as some of his work, but then all Tim Powers books are great, so thats just nit-picking.
grizzly.anderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd put this right up there with The Anubis Gates and Last Call as my favorite Tim Powers books, and one that I will read over and over again. As with most of his books, it has an everyman caught up in something he doesn't understand, trying to find a way out. There are supernatural powers that he must understand and learn to manipulate while multiple shadowy conspiracies with their own agendas try to help, or harm, or simply use him.Why do I like these the best? They are the ones that pull me in to the story, that feel like they are the best crafted. With some of his other books the McGuffin ties him too much to established genres - vampires, pirates, etc. - or his own previous stories and it effects the rhythm of the story he's trying to tell.Start with any of these three Powers books and you'll be hooked.
yarmando on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cluttered with unmemorable, interchangeable characters, this story pulls Einstein and Chaplin into a messy tale of espionage, ESP, and time travel. There were little nuggets of creativity, though: the blind woman who can see through others' eyes, the Mossad agent who suddenly knows that what he has just done is the last time he will do that, the infant doppelgangers that appear when one returns from time traveling.
PirateJenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is, well, Powersian. Take Einstein, Chaplin, time travel, Mosad, and a group called Vespers that has a mummified head and throw in Frank Marrity, an English professor, and his daughter, Daphne, who just happen to stumble into this mess via Grammar, Frank's grandmother. Obviously there are good guys, bad guys, and confused guys. I would have liked to know a bit more about the Vespers--any group that refers to the mummified head it has as the Baphomet head is sure to intrigue me. Perhaps I'd have been less interested in them if I knew more. But as with all Powers's books, it was weird, and funky, and Powersian. It's the best adjective I can come up with.
bookheaven on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first half of the book is frustrating but the second half is great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a fan. Tim Powers writes so convincingly and so clearly. The complex plots challenge and satisfy every time.
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