Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nick of Time

Nick of Time

Ted Bell
Historical Fiction
For ages 10 to 12
St. Martin's Press, 2009   ISBN: 978-0312581435

Nick McIver loves his life on Greybeard Island. He loves being the son of a lighthouse keeper, and has become a very skilled sailor who knows the waters around the island like the back of his hand. Like so many other twelve-year-old boys, Nick loves to read about adventures, and he is thrilled when his father asks him for help. Nick’s father, a retired pilot who served in the Great War, is a spy. He has been asked to look for signs of Nazi activity in the seas around Greybeard Island, and his reports are being read by Winston Churchill himself.

While they are out looking for Nazis in Nick’s boat, Nick and his sister Katie find what looks like a treasure chest. It is heavy, and they cannot move it far, but they do manage to hide it in a cave along the coast. Soon after, Nick and Katie meet a very unsavory looking pair of men in the local inn, which is owned by their friend Gunner. One of the visitors introduces himself as Captain Blood, and he is looking for something that he seems to think Nick has in his possession. Nick quickly comes to the conclusion that Captain Blood is looking for the chest, but he has no intention of giving it to the piratical looking fellow.

Nick soon finds out that it is not wise to cross Captain Billy Blood. The evil man kidnaps Nick’s dog Jip, saying in a note that he will return the dog when he is given the sea chest. Poor Nick is desperate to save Jip, and with Katie and Gunner’s help, he sets about trying to find a way to get him back. Quite by accident, he finds himself in the home of the local recluse, a man called Lord Hawke. Together they open the chest, and in it they find a time travel device that was made by Leonardo Da Vinci. Lord Hawke knows all about the device, and he explains that Captain Blood has a similar one, which he has used countless times to travel back and forth in time. Nick, Katie, Gunner, and their news friends discover that the device has been sent to Nick by his ancestor Captain Nicolas McIver, who serves under Admiral Horatio Nelson. It would seem that the captain needs Nick’s help to defeat England’s enemies in 1809.

While Nick, Lord Hawke and Gunner travel into the past, Lord Hawke’s friend, Hobbes, sails for England with Katie to tell Winston Churchill that a U-boat has been seen in the waters around Greybeard Island. Neither one of them realizes that the Germans in the U-boat are watching them, and that they are in grave danger.

Set in 1939 and 1809, this fascinating book will delight readers who enjoy stories that are full of adventure, dastardly deeds, villains, and heroes. As they share Nick and Katie’s adventures, readers will discover that courage and heroism come in many forms. Both children will learn to use their gifts to save the people and further the causes that they hold dear.

Readers will be delighted to hear that this is the first title in what promises to be a gripping series of books.

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