Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

W.A.R.P: The Reluctant Assassin

W.A.R.P: The Reluctant Assassin

Eoin Colfer
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Hyperion, 2013   ISBN: 978-1423161622

Riley has been Albert Garrick’s apprentice for as long as he can remember, just about. So far, he has managed to avoid playing a part in Garrick’s work as an assassin, but now he can no longer dodge Garrick’s efforts to make Riley his partner in crime. Garrick and Riley are in a house on Bedford Square in London, and their soon-to-be victim is lying on a bed in front of them. Riley knows that he must kill the man or be killed himself by his ruthless master.

  Riley steps forward towards the bed and then something strange starts to happen. A “cocoon of light” surrounds the body of the sleeping man. Then a terrible noise, something like an alarm, starts up and wakes the man. The man touches a pendent that is lying on the bed and the noise stops and then he tries to convince Riley not too kill him. Unfortunately, Garrick decides to take matters into his own hands and he forces Riley’s hand to plunge a knife into the man’s chest. Then the dying man and his pendent vanishes, and soon after Riley, still holding the knife, vanishes too.

   Riley emerges inside a strange metal pod in the same house in Bedford Square, but he is no longer in London in 1898. Instead, he is in London more than one hundred years in the future. The house is the London office of the F.B.I. and a very young FBI employee, Chevy Savano, has been given the job of keeping an eye on the pod. To say that Chevy is bored is an understatement, and she never in a million years expects anything to happen with the pod. She is therefore very shocked when the dead body of an old man and a very much alive teenage boy turn up inside the pod. Chevron’s handler, Felix Smart, explains that the dead man is his father, who invented the technology that makes time travel possible. All you need is a pod and a Timekey, which opens a wormhole that takes you backwards or forwards in time. The F.B.I. has been using the technology to hide valuable witnesses in the past and the program is called W.A.R.P. (Witness Anonymous Witness Relocation Program).

   Riley, still very confused about what has happened to him, is put into a holding cell. He does his best to warn Chevy that Garrick, “Death itself,” will be coming to retrieve him. Of course Chevy doesn’t believe a word that Riley says. How can a common magician, a slight of hand man from the past possibly be a threat? It isn’t long before she realizes that Riley is right. Felix and a team of professionals go back in time to the house on Bedford Square. They do not know that Garrick is waiting for them, eager to steal the “magic” he saw. Systematically Garrick kills everyone and he then travels back through the wormhole generated by Felix’s Timekey. Garrick is holding Felix when the wormhole consumes him and thus, as he is travelling through the wormhole, his DNA and Felix’s merges. When Garrick arrives in London in the future he not only has his own knowledge and skills, but he also knows everything that Felix knew. Garrick understands the technology of the modern day and he quickly sets about using it to find Riley.

   Chevron and Riley manage to flee the house on Bedford Square, taking refuge in a safe house in another part of London. Unfortunately, they do not realize that Garrick knows everything Felix knew and therefore it is not long before Garrick finds them, killing everyone who gets in his way. Garrick not only wants to reclaim his apprentice, but he wants the Timekey that is in Chevron’s possession. He has big plans for the Timekey.

   In the end, in sheer desperation, Chevron and Riley flee through another wormhole to Riley’s London. Perhaps there they can find a way to get rid of Garrick once and for all. Or perhaps not.

   In this first title in a new series, Eoin Colfer tells a tale that is gripping, full of surprises, and that is packed with utterly captivating scenes. We are given hints in this story that there are more secrets that need to be revealed. Chevy Sovano and Riley have more adventures in their futures.