A River Called Time

Courttia Newland

A River Called Time by Courttia Newland (Hardback ISBN 9781786897060) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook, Downloadable audio

7 January 2021

A monumental speculative fiction story of love, loyalty, politics and conscience set in parallel Londons

The Ark was built to save the lives of the many, but rapidly became a refuge for the elite, the entrance closed without warning.

Years after the Ark was cut off from the world, a chance of survival within its confines is granted to a select few who can prove their worth. Among their number is Markriss Denny, whose path to future excellence is marred only by a closely guarded secret: without warning, his spirit leaves his body, allowing him to see and experience a world far beyond his physical limitations.

Once inside the Ark, Denny learns of another with the same power, whose existence could spell catastrophe for humanity. He is forced into a desperate race to understand his abilities, and in doing so uncovers the truth about the Ark, himself and the people he thought he once knew.

Set in an alternate world where slavery and colonialism never happened, Newland’s staggering novel is both a timely exploration of social inequality and a story about love, loyalty and the search for the truth.


A River Called Time is a real gem of a book … There are so many brilliant parallels drawn between the world we live in as well as gentle prods towards the reality we could create. Written in Courttia’s evocative style, I was constantly thrown by the clever twists and turns. I had my hands on my face throughout the end of the book as shock after shock was delivered … an excellent, beautiful read that will make you think while taking your breath away”
Dorothy Koomson

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“A masterful reimagining of the African diaspora’s influence on England and on the world. It’s a grand tale and still an intimate portrait of loss and love. What glory and influence would Africa enjoy if colonialism had never occurred? Courttia Newland reshapes our vision of the past, present and future by taking this one question seriously. The result is something truly special. No other way to put it, this book is true Black magic”
Victor Lavalle

“Courttia’s writing is rich with passion and humanity. He manages to convey great depth without ever losing his lightness of touch. A rare feat only reserved for the few”
Steve Mcqueen

“Gloriously enthralling. An immersive, ambitious reimagining of the city from a formidable British voice. Newland’s magnum opus”
Irenosen Okojie

“A master storyteller returns with this piece of astonishing speculative fiction, interrogating social inequality, the complexities of truth and the very essence of what it is to be human, all in Newland’s precise and powerful prose”
Nikesh Shukla


Courttia Newland

Courttia Newland is the author of seven books including his much lauded debut, The Scholar. His latest novel, The Gospel According to Cane, was published in 2013. He co-edited The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain, and his short stories have featured in various anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He was shortlisted for the 2007 CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the 2010 Alfred Fagon Award. In 2016 he was also awarded the Tayner Barbers Award for science fiction writing and the Roland Rees Busary for playwriting. As a screenwriter, he has written episodes of Steve McQueen’s 2020 BBC series Small Axe.

@courttianewland