The Demon Plague skillfully switches between three time frames -- 1692, 1992, and 2192 -- in the same town: Salem, Massachusetts. Yep, that Salem. Of the witch-burning hysteria. McFate artfully skips from one time dimension to the other with a minimum of disturbance in storyline. He has woven an intricate compelling tale with an attention to timely detail that makes the reader feel as if they are there.
Crystal Patience Gladstone Donovan, accompanied by her faithful Doberman, Max, is at the center of the time travel in this novel. It all begins with an interesting amulet back in 1692 during the witch trial of Crystal’s namesake, Patience Gladstone Talbot. The star crystal exists simultaneously, although in a weakened form, after it is abruptly stolen at the aforementioned trial in multiple time layers involved. There ensues chases on foot through trees, a sexually violent murder, family reunions, and love both unrequited and returned.
Somehow, McFate draws it all together and makes the blending of science fiction and current reality blend into a palatable concoction. The pacing is excellent. It keeps the reader's interest even as it hopscotches through various portals and dimensions. The wonderfully inventive narrative mixes the right amount of fantasy with believability. His use of imagery is so vibrant that it is easy to envision both Kane and Gult/Michael, which makes the dichotomy of each one's appearance and personality even more striking.
As an added bonus, there are several tidbits about Salem that history buffs will find appealing. The Demon Plague is good for a few hours of escapist reading.