Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Mysterious Manuscript

The Mysterious Manuscript

Lars Jakobsen
Graphic Novel
7 to 10
Lerner, 2012   ISBN: 978-0822594093

For hundreds of years humans have tried to find a way to travel through time. Now, at long last, scientists have built a device called a time gun and travel through time is possible. Unfortunately, the technology has fallen into the hands of villains who are using the gun to bring items from the past into the present so that they can sell them to collectors. Secret agents have been given the job of “keeping history in the right order” by making sure that artifacts are not removed from their own time.

   One of these agents is Mortensen who is asked to meet a book collector at a restaurant in Denmark. The man he meets shows Mortensen an ancient illuminated book that dates from 1512, and in it the author describes how a flying machine fell out of the sky. Clearly airplanes do not belong in 1512 and Mortensen is going to have to go back in time, to Scotland in 1512, to try to fix the mix up.

   When he gets to Loch Ness in Scotland in the year 1512 he finds out that there is a castle by the lake. In the dead of night Mortensen sneaks into the castle but before he can do anything meaningful to find the person who wrote the book, Mortesen encounters a man who takes his time gun and accidentally activates it, transporting himself to another point in time. Mortensen is now trapped in Scotland in the 16th century. Luckily another man in the castle, Mandrake of Loch Ness, understands how important Mortensen’s mission is and he offers to help him. Mortensen discovers that Mandrake wrote the book he seeks and he decides to steal it.

   Mandrake then takes Mortensen to the house of Blossom, the local witch. Though Blossom is unable to speak, she manages to explain that she saw the airplane and buried the two pilots who died when their airplane crashed. When Blossom draws a picture of a bicycle, Mortensen gets very confused. How would a woman living in the early 1500’s know anything about a bicycle? They haven’t been invented yet. Then Blossom reveals a secret and Mortensen begins to hope that perhaps he will be able to go back to his time after all. If he is lucky.

   In this first Mortensen Escapades title the author takes us on a fascinating journey into the past and he presents us with an interesting mystery. Readers will have an grand time trying to figure out what happened and trying to guess how Mortensen is going to repair the damage that has been done.

   At the back of the book the author provides his readers with information about illuminated manuscripts, the first bicycles, witch hunts, dungeons, and ancient libraries.