Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026.
Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand …’
I started reading (well, listening to) the Time Riders series as I had already read and loved a couple of Alex Scarrow’s ‘adult’ books, and it sounded like a series that my daughter would enjoy. As with a lot of YA series, I read the first to check it would be OK for her.
I got the first TimeRiders audiobook almost exactly a year ago. And the main characters and the whole concept was enchanting. I felt so drawn in by the stories of Liam, Maddy and Sal that over the past year I have continued to work my way through the series – in fact I almost caught the lovely Mr Scarrow up – the last (Book 9 – The Infinity Cage) only having been published in November.
Now, I know that the time travel paradoxes (parodxii?) are flawed throughout, and that this would annoy many who are purist about their time travel (such as my husband), but the characters, the research, the pure adventure in these books are fantastic – almost perfect. I’ve also learnt some lovely snippets of history.
The three main characters are rescued moments before their deaths by Foster, who tells them that they have been signed up by ‘The Agency’ to help him police time travel as they all have specific skills that are required. Their base is in a 48 hour loop time bubble, located in a bridge arch workshop space in New York on Monday 10th & Tuesday 11th September 2001. The ideal place to be located to spot if there have been any changes in history.
The technology they are using is from the 2040’s and includes a couple of meat-bots for protection, Bob & (later) Becs who have GM human bodies with highly-advanced computer processor brains.
The books take the group all across the world and time, often leaving them supposedly stranded – and with an underlying story-arch of who picked them? Why are they there? Who are they really working for? Is it actually their job to ensure that mankind eventually ceases to exist?
In this particular story the story-arch is definitely drawing to its conclusion – they find more explanations for their own existence, and some of the clues in the earlier stories are being decoded. The team travel to Nicaragua in 1994 to visit some symbols that helped them to decode The Holy Grail (in The Doomsday Code – book 3 and probably my favourite) to see if they can find any more clues. This leads them to visit the same spot in the 1400s when everything starts to go horribly wrong.
I hate to say this, but this is my least favourite of all the books. However, there may be a number of reasons why this is. For starters, I don’t want the series to end. I love the characters, and the thought of not being able to dip into their rather intriguing lives actually upsets me!
Also, they all seem less sure of themselves, and less sure of each other. They feel like they’re distancing themselves, and that is actually a theme within the book. The problem with not being a tight team is that something bad always happens to the stragglers – and that concerns me for the last book. I want it all to be lovely in the end!
This book was also a lot more dark and violent than the previous ones too – which is harsh considering they’ve been back 65million years, to the American Civil War, Nazi Germany, Medieval England, Victorian London 19th Century pirates and Empirical Rome!
A wonderful, wonderful, well-written and researched, exciting series where I am dreading finishing the final book. I know I’m going to put it off for a little while yet!
Also, I have done the whole series as audiobooks, and Trevor White has narrated them all – and he does an absolutely brilliant job. They aren’t short books, and yet his energy levels keep the suspense and the action and excitement palpable!