TimeRiders: The Eternal War
The latest cover for the book.


Alex Scarrow




Science Fiction


Penguin Hroup

Publication date

14 July 2011


Paperback, Hardback



Chapter count




Book in series


Preceded by

TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code (book)

Followed by

TimeRiders: Gates of Rome (book)

TimeRiders: The Eternal War is the fourth book in TimeRiders. It was written by Alex Scarrow. In this book, Abraham Lincoln is taken out of Civil War history, resulting in the American Civil War raging until 2001. Maddy will have to convince two generals, one Union, one Confederate, to cease fire, so she is able to save history, and return Lincoln to his time.


Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode, book or any other feature of this topic.

The book begins in 2044, with Joseph Oliveira arriving at Roald Walstein's residence in New York. This New York is dying, with several districts lying flooded and abandoned. The sea has risen to the point where it looks as if Lady Liberty walks on water. Joseph meets with Waldstein, who asks Joseph if he is willing to work on a top secret project of his Joseph accepts.

In 2001, Liam and the others are out, learning about history once more. They are having lunch, when suddenly, Sal detects a time shift. A "Lincoln Burger" is missing from the menu there, and is only the first of a series of new shifts. The team head back to the arch and deduce that this change has been caused by the untimely death of a young Abraham Lincoln, a death which should never have occured in the original timeline. Maddy deduces that this change has been cause by something or someone who caused Abraham Lincoln to be crushed by a distillery wagon in 1831, New Orleans. Liam, Bob and Sal travel back to New Orleans, 1831, and successfully save Abraham Lincoln from his imminent death. Unbeknowst to them, after they leave Lincoln in a safe place, he follows them back to 2001, where he is immediately knocked unconscious by Bob. As the TimeRiders discuss returning Lincoln to his time, he escapes their clutches and goes on the loose in New York City, managing to outrun both Bob and Becks. After getting into a scuffle with a fellow over an unintentional racial slur, Lincoln is arrested and taken into custody. During that time period, he must have metioned the Twin Towers falling down (he glimpsed this on Maddy's computer monitor) and so he is taken to an FBI facility in Virginia. 

Maddy transports Liam, Sal and Bob to the FBI facility via a time portal, in order for them to successfully rescue Lincoln and restore the original timeline. They manage to reach Lincoln, but now something worse has come their way; a big time shift, erasing this reality and creating a new one. Liam, Sal, Bob and Lincoln all escape unscathed and open their eyes to see the new reality which has taken place: a reality in which the Civil War has continued until 2001. A giant zeppelin-like vehicle hangs in the sky, slowly lowering a structure, a factory perhaps, down to the ground. A ramp opens, and a tractor, along with several figures, exit the structure, which Liam decides to call a portable farm. Sal becomes suspicious about the figures in the distance and wonders whether they are truly human. Bob deduces that in this timeline, lighter than air technology is far more advanced than in the normal 2001. He also states that they only underwent a positional translation (they travelled to a different location, not a different time). Liam decides that they should try and make their way to New York, in case Maddy does not have enough power to charge up a portal.

Unbeknowst to Maddy and Becks, they are not alone in New York. Colonel William Devereau is located nearby, although he does not know of the TimeRiders' location either. He muses on the history of this alternate Civil War, noting that this war was no longer for the American people. Rather, the Union (Devereau's side) were being controlled by the French, and the Confederates were puppets for the British Empire, who in this timeline, have grown innumerably powerful.

Back at the TimeRiders' HQ, the archway has fallen, literally fallen into a bomb crater, dismantling most of the equipment in the archway, and resulting in severe structural damage. Both Maddy and Becks escape unscathed, and decide to inspect their surroundings. What they find is unlike anything they have ever seen before: New York is a war zone, with several buildings nothing more than gutted skeletons. The Williamsburg Bridge is also completely destroyed. Maddy and Becks also manage to glimpse several zeppelins in the sky, each with odd structures jutting out from them, almost as if they were battleships. Maddy also notices that the archway is now lying in an old bomb crater, which could have been used as a trench for a brief time. After that, Maddy and Becks both head inside to see if any of their equipment has remained intact. The news is grim: the generator was damaged, the growth tubes used for growing new support units were completely damaged, some were beyond repair, and msot importantly, the tachyon transmission array was completely destroyed. Becks notes that, even if the TimeRiders did have a steady supply of electricity, they would now be unable to open or close any portals. Distraught by the news, Maddy decides to leave the archway, leaving Becks on her own. Maddy decides to head to Boston, in the forlorn hope that her home is still there. Becks remains in the archway alone, confused as to what to do without instructions. Maddy takes us shelter in an an abandoned building not too soon after she leaves the defunct HQ, and is roughly woken up by two Union soldiers out on patrol, Sergeant Freeman and Private Ray Calder. She is taken back to their headquarters, where she meets with Colonel Devereau. She explains to him that she is not a spy, choosing to tell him that this timeline is wrong. She tells him that the Civil War was never meant to continue to 2001, that instead of being a divided nation, America becomes whole, even sending a man to the moon. Devereau doesn't believe her, until Maddy tells him she can prove it. She asks: "How would you like to see my time machine?" Becks, on the other hand, remains alone in the archway, and after an hour passes, she is able to rewrite mission protocol, just like Bob did in TimeRiders.

Liam, Bob, Sal and Lincoln, on the other hand, wind up asking a Chinese man heading west, if he could take them to New York. He refuses, remarking that New York is nothing more than a ruin now. He does state that he can take Liam and his team west, to New Pittsburgh, Cleveland, even Baltimore (which is known as Dead City in this timeline). Liam and the others step inside the vehicle, which they find to be filled with the man's personal possessions, along with live chickens. The Chinese man deposits them near a junction of roads, one heading west, the other heading north. He tells Liam and the other that New York has been in a state of war since he could remember, whilst also telling them they too, would be better off heading west. Dead City is located 25 miles to the east, but is apparently filled with poison. The man drives off, leaving Liam and the team alone in a cornfield. After hearing an unknown military vehicle approaching, Liam and the others hide in the cornfield, and soon head off to an abandoned village, where the team takes up residence for the time being. Here, the team decides to rest, and Liam finds out out a bit about this world's alternate history. He finds that in the deciding battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederates won, and the Union made a hasty retreat north to New York. Soon after, the British proposed an offer to Jefferson Davis, the leader of the Confederates, which allowed slavery to end in the South. A year after, the Union followed suit and banned slavery in the North. Thus ends Liam's history lesson, and the group resumes eating. Lincoln remarks that slavery is merely the natural order of things, a comment which Sal finds incredibly offensive. Lincoln tries to compliment Sal, but in the process, unintentionally offends her. Later on in the day, an unknown creature grabs Bob's shotgun, causing Bob to chase the creature into the cornfields. This turns out to be a distraction, as a swarm of similar creatures swarm the house, and attempt to take Liam, Sal, and Lincoln. Only Liam escapes unscathed, with the creatures instead taking Sal and Lincoln to their hideout in the Dead City. Bob realizes the creature snatching the gun was a diversion, and quickly heads back. By the time he arrives, it is too late, Sal and Lincoln are gone. Bob sits on the floor, and actually experiences an emotion: guilt. Thankfully, all hope is not lost; it turns out Liam is still in the house. Bob actually hugs Liam, just before the house begins to shake. A large lighter-than-air vessel is situated outside the house. A company of British soldiers, along with unknown creatures, disembark from the vessel, and their leader, Captain Ewan McManus, greets both Liam and Bob. He explains that he has been tracking the same group of creatures for a few weeks, and explains that this same group butchered the population of a nearby farm town. He explains that these creatures are eugenics, artificial units designed for rudimentary, laborious work in farms and factories. He also tells them about the intelligent forms of eugenic, lifeforms that are smart enough to change the oil in an engine, and how they can flip: one moment loving and tender, the next, psychotic. After the conversation, Liam and Bob accompany McManus on the search for Sal and Lincoln, both are placed on a huffalo, a genetically engineered lifeform designed for transporting soldiers. They follow the eugenics' track all the way to the outskirts of the Dead City, where they stop for the night. McManus tells Liam and Bob that the North poisoned Baltimore (Dead City) with virals (an alternate form of bioweapon) killing the resident population and rendering the are unihabitable by humans. Eugenics seem to be unaffected by the disease, and make their home in the ruins of the Dead City. As the British regiment begin to rest, McManus tells Liam that this war is losing support back home in Britain. Since the British Empire has so many wars going on across the globe, in Africa, in Asia Minor (Turkey), even the Far East, they are looking to finish the war and negotiate peace as soon as possible.

Back in New York, Maddy is taking Colonel Devereau, along with several troops, across the war zone of New York, towards the now-ruined archway. In an unexpected move, Devereau signals the enemy, and we find out out later that Devereau knows the colonel on the other side. In fact, they're both good acquaintances. Before they enter the archway, Maddy calls to Becks, and tells her that the men outside are not going to hurt either of them. Becks emerges, and after a heated discussion, tells Maddy that the archway can indeed be repaired, if they can get the correct components. Maddy suggests that the soldiers with her can help out with repairing the archway. Both Colonel Devereau and his soldiers enter the arch, and Becks goes to turn on the power. Devereau remarks that they both have a lot of explaining if they want to avoid a federal military prison. Maddy explains to Devereau that this timeline should not exist, that he and his men should not be living this life. She explains that, in the correct timeline, America is not broken, but instead united, becoming the world's first superpower. She tells him America even managed to put a man on the moon. On the subject of time travel, she explains that the alternate reality is not stable, and something else could very well replace it, such as a world where the Confederates have won the Civil War, or worse. Maddy fails to elaborate on worse, instead telling Devereau his hair would turn white if he saw these outcomes. Devereau then asks what Maddy and Becks' roles are. Maddy explains that she was chosen for this role, and also tells him that Becks is an artificial support unit, a meat robot. Devereau explains that the British have been tampering with genetic engineering for years, producing creatures like Becks. In this timeline, however, the science is called Eugenology. He explains that the British have experimented with eugenology for 30 years, most notably at the Battle of Preston Peak. Here, they let loose their eugenics, which were dubbed "The Almost-Men". They tore 3000 Union soldiers to pieces, and even wound up turning on their own troops. After that, the eugenics tore each other apart. When Union troops retook Preston Peak, they found only parts of bodies, along with a body mounted on a wooden crossbar. The arms, legs, torso and head were all from different soldiers, and it is implied that the eugenics were parodying the very science which created them. Devereau also tells Maddy and Becks that the British Empire encompasses half the world, and has access to the modern sciences, whilst the Union has to rely on archaic technology which is decades old and prone to failure. Soon after, Maddy, Becks and Devereau make their way to the Confederate outpost, where they are greeted by Colonel Wainwright. Wainwright is also told about the timeline by Maddy. She shows him gadgets from her time, including magazines, even an I-Phone, and tells Wainwright she requires a radio dish (known as a communications saucer in this timeline) in order for her to be able to successfully correct the timeline. Unfortunately, it turns out that the only available radio dish is guarded by the British, and neither Wainwright or Devereau are willing to risk a mutiny. Devereau escorts Maddy and Becks back to his HQ, before the British inspection of the Confederate HQ takes place.

Sal and Lincoln on other hand, have been transported by the eugenics into the Dead City, where they have made their residence, safely away from opposing troops. Here, Sal and Lincoln meet the eugenics' leader, an intelligent creature known as Samuel. Samuel is unlike the other eugenics, displaying intelligence akin to a human, even maging to offer Sal and Lincoln food. He also tells Sal and Lincoln that they are his hostages, and that he will use their lives to bargain for his and the other eugenics' lives. He hopes that the British will not harm him or his colleagues this way, and that he and the eugenics will be left alone. He explains to Sal and Lincoln how he developes the scarring around his mouth, and it turns out that when he was working in a factory, he spoke back at his English superiors. They stitched his mouth up so he would be unable to speak again, yet somehow, Samuel was able to remove the stitches, resulting in scarring around his mouth. He also tells Sal and Lincoln about eugenology, how in just a century, the British could create a creature from nothing, even tamper with the building blocks of nature. In the abandoned theater they are located in, Sal and Lincoln witness an argument between Samuel and another eugenic. The eugenic argues that they should just kill Sal and Lincoln, in an attempt to scare off the British. Samuel retorts that the British will take revenge on them, especially after those eugenics killed those people in the farm town. After an intense argument, Samuel is convinced they should head North. He believes that the Union will treat them as equals, just like they did with the freed slaves. Suddenly, they hear a rumbling from above. The British regiment has arrived, and so Samuel, along with the rest of the eugenics, flees the scene with Sal and Lincoln in tow. Outside of Dead City, McManus, Liam and Bob, along with a full British regiment of soldiers and hunter-seekers (baboon-dogs genetically engineered in order to detect and neutralize insurgents) are waiting until first light in order to raid the city. McManus comments that the eugenics all have one thing in common: they each want to seem more human, more like their creators. Later in the day, when the British are searching through Dead City, the regiment finds Sal and Lincoln. They are rescued, but Sal calls out to the eugenics, promising them that they will not be harmed. McManus agrees to these terms and calls the eugenics out. The eugenics emerge, and that is when McManus reneges on his deal: instead, he has his regiment, The Black Watch, open fire on the eugenics, killing every last one of them.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Wainwright receives a visit from a British office. He is informed that the British intend to use his Confederate force for one final push into the heartland, through New York, and into the heart of the Union's territory. Wainwright is aghast at the news that experimentals(genetics) are being sent alongside those units, especially after the cast-iron promise from the British that no more eugenics would be produced. The officer also informs Wainwright that he is relieved of duty, but before he can continue, Wainwright shoots him dead. Wainwright has his soldiers arrest the small British garrison in his HQ, and then goes to meet Devereau's force. Wainwright informs Devereau that the British want to take New York for good this time, and that they are sending in experimentals to finish the job. Wainwright also tells Devereau that he has reconsidered his stance on the mutiny, and his more than willing to help Maady and Becks fix their time machine. First, both Devereau nd Wainwright inform their men of the situation at hand. They tell them about the experimentals being set in, and that is enough to set me men off. They are enraged, and so, a truce is estabilished, meaning that for the first time, Confederate and Union soldiers will be working side by side to fend off the British. Becks, on the other hand, successfully raids the British compound, killing everyone inside, and securing the communications dish. Now, Maddy, Becks and the others set to repairing the time machine, replacing the damaged generator with a rusting tank's engine. Other components are added in as well, in order for Maddy to be able to open a portal successfully. Trenches, along with other defences, are added near the archway as well, in order to buy Maddy more time and allow the generator to charge up successfully.

Liam, Bob, Sal and Lincoln are onboard the carrier once more. Captain McManus tells them that they are picking up the rest of the regiment, before landing in New Wellington. He tells Liam there are 836 units in his regiment in total: 627 men and officers, 24 hunter-seekers and 50 huffaloes, along with the carrier's crew and support personnel, 123 in total. McManus notices that the disposal of those genics is troubling Liam, and informs him that those eugenics were already in bad condition. They were faulty, unreliable, and thus had to be disposed of. Before landing, Bob notes that McManus only counted 824 units, not the 836 he claimed. It is suspected these 12 missing units are the experimental Dreadnoughts which lead the second wave in the Battle For New York. The aircraft they are on lands near the city of New Wellington, where Liam and the others will have to find another way to New York. Liam, Bob, Sal and Lincoln receive a message from Maddy, telling them that it is no longer viable to head to New York. Instead, they must head to the geo-coordinates Maddy has chosen for them, resulting in a mad dash across fields, gardens, even a farm at one point. Liam and the team "borrow" a tractor in order to make their way to the rendezvous point, covering a fair amount of ground, but not without causing their fair share of devastation behind them. Eventually, they get off and walk, successfully reaching the portal in time, returning Abraham Lincoln to 1831 and correcting the timeline.

In New York, the British amphibious assault has begun. Bombs were being launched directly at the mutineers' and although they fail to kill them, they have a demoralizing effect on the men. After the bombardment stops, the first wave of British troops, two regiments equalling twelve hundred men, charges at the mutineers. Although it is a very even fight, Devereau and Wainwright's troops successfully manage to whittle down the number of British, causing them to momentarily retreat. Wainwright discovers that the second wave of troops will consist of the Black Watch, Britain's most elite fighting force. He also tells Devereau that this is the regiment the British have been testing their eugenics (the Dreadnoughts) with. Both colonels order their men to kill the eugenics as soon as possible, to not allow them to get past the trenches. The first Dreadnought rushes out, and is killed swiftly by the combined might of the Confederate-Union alliance. Devereau notes that it took the entire regiment to take the beast down. The rest of the Dreadnoughts are released, and it is revealed they have all sorts of attachments on their arms; swords, saws, even spikes. Even though one more has fallen, the rest make short work of the first line of defence, causing Devereau, Wainwright and the others to retreat. Becks notices the men are exhibiting extreme stress reactions and chooses to rally them together. She tells them that the Dreadnought units can be taken down, and that they should ain their fire at the head and chest. Whilst all that is going on, Maddy is running a density probe of the area Liam and the others are arriving at, in order to see if they are already there. Maddy finds they have arrived, and opens the portal, so Liam and the others can correct history. Becks, meanwhile, is out on the battlefield, going toe to toe with the Dreadnoughts. She aims a machine gun at one of the beasts, slicing through tissue, killing the beast. She uses a sabre to slice at another Dreadnought's leg, causing it to keel over and become unable to right itself (Due to the heavy armor they wear, Dreadnoughts find it extremely difficult to get up). Becks goes up to the wounded beast, and sensing the beast knows what is coming, kills it mercifully. When that is finished, she directs Devereau to guide the troops to the last line fo defence, to buy Maddy as much time as possible. Now on her own, she grabs another machine gun, aims it downhill at the British force, and begins to fire. After the battle is over, Captain McManus makes his way up the battlefield. He finds Becks' body underneath a mound of British, noting that she alone held the entire regiment at bay for 5 minutes. She fired the machine gun until the barrels overheated and the gun did not work properly. She then resorted to attacking the British with her bare fists until she was eventually taken down, her body overloaded as her biochemistry became unable to deal with multiple bullet wounds. Of course, Becks succeeded in buying Maddy enough time: now that Lincoln has been returned, Devereau, Wainwright and any other troops could surrender. All the mutineers, including Maddy Are taken away just outside the battlefield, where Maddy spots Becks' body lying in the dirt. She runs to Becks, cradling her body, when suddenly, she spots the time wave approaching. She realizes that the secret from The Doomsday Code is still inside Becks' Head, a secret which has travelled 2000 years to get to her. Maddy grabs a bayonet, and slices Becks' head off, before running to the archway in order to avoid being erased by the timewave. She jumps into a portal produced by Computer-Bob just as the wave arrives, rewriting history and restoring the correct timeline.

Meanwhile, in 1831, Sal, Bob and Liam are searching for the cause of this contamination. They discover a man from the future, who has suffered the most grim of fates; he has fused with two horses, and is dying of extreme blood loss. Sal approaches the man, and begins to converse with him. The man tells Sal, albeit in short rasping breaths, that he tried to warn them about Pandora. He also tells Sal that her and the team are not what they think they are. His final words to Sal are "I know about the bear", a direct reference to the bear Sal glimpsed when she was saved from a burning building and recruited into the TimeRiders. Sal is left to think about that message, as the book draws to a close.


The Mutineers' first line of defence was 'the borderline', a long, straight trench running from the ruins of the Williamsburg Bridge to a glue factory opposite the bridge. The second line of defence was 'the horseshoe', a hastily dug trench in which the brick mound was nestled at the bottom. The final line of defence, should the horseshow be overrun, was 'the fort'. The entrance to the archway was reinforced with a small nest of sandbags and support bars, and was topped with a roof of more bags and dirt. It would be a bunker in which three Gatling-gun teams would be stationed, firing out through slits in the walls. That would be where the team could make their last stand if the British got that far.