The Time Thief
UK Title: The Tar Man
by Linda Buckley-Archer
This is the second book in the Gideon Trilogy, also known as the Time Quake Trilogy. In the first book, The Time Travelers (a.k.a. Gideon the Cutpurse), two 21st-century children were accidentally sent back to the England of 1763, where they were befriended and helped by a reformed cutpurse named Gideon Seymour. Their rescue was only partly successful. Kate Dyer returned to her own time, but at the last moment a villain known as the Tar Man traveled with her instead of her friend Peter Schock.
Now a NASA scientist thinks time travel is a really bad idea, and the antigravity machine that made it possible should be destroyed. Kate isn't so ready to give up on Peter. Refusing to leave him stranded in 1763, she helps Peter's father steal the machine and the two go back in time to rescue him. Unfortunately, the settings on the machine have been tampered with. So Kate and Mr. Schock land in 1792, a time when Peter has grown into manhood unrescued.
Peter recognizes them in time to conceal his identity, while trying to help Kate and Mr. Schock get back to their own time and continue searching for the boy he was. The trouble is, the machine was damaged during its latest trip, and the only person in 1792 who has a chance of fixing it is a scholarly nobleman barricaded on his estate in revolution-torn France. On the eve of war between France and Britain, and at the height of the Terror in which the guillotine played such a gruesome role, the three friends must risk great danger if their families are ever to be reunited. Meanwhile, Kate is starting to experience scary side effects of time travel - and she isn't the only one.
Back in the 21st century(!), the Tar Man tries to set up a new criminal empire, aided by a street-smart girl and another boy lost in time. When his plans go pear-shaped, the crooked-necked creep moves to Plan B, which involves more time travel. But even after cheating Peter and Kate out of their long-awaited reunion with their families, the Tar Man proves to be only the second-nastiest villain in the universe.
This middle book ends with a cliffhanger in which the very fabric of reality seems to be in dire jeopardy. But it takes more than a cliffhanger ending to make sure you'll want to read Book Three. What it takes, this book has: lovable characters, urgent suspense, creepiness, humor, a fish-out-of-water adventure in history, a hint of romance, and enough criss-crossing lines of plot and motivation to satisfy anyone craving another Harry Potter adventure.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 12+
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