Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com
Peter feels he has been brushed off by his father yet again--and he has been. He's been waiting for his birthday treat for months, but his father always has business meetings and is too busy to spend time with him. His mother is off working in Los Angeles, far away from Peter and his father in London. The morning Peter and his father fight about it again, Margrit, the Au Pair, takes Peter with her to visit her friends out in the country.
These friends have a daughter, Kate, who is about Peter's age, twelve. Kate's father takes the two of them, plus Kate's dog, Molly, to the lab where he works. Kate and Peter end up chasing Molly through the halls--a small thing that ends up being very important.
One minute, they're running through the halls of the lab. The next minute, Kate and Peter, along with an antigravity machine that one of Kate's father's colleagues has been working on, have been transported back in time to a grassy hillside in 1763.
Before long, they've met two very different men of that time. The first is the Tar Man, who steals the antigravity machine, which could very well be the key to getting back to the present. The second is Gideon, an enemy of the Tar Man, who decides to help the two children from the future.
Before long, Kate and Peter are on an adventure, headed to London to recover the antigravity machine and get back to their homes and families. On their way, they will encounter highwaymen, make friends (including Gideon), and learn a lot about that time in history--the good and the bad.
Back in present-day England, Peter's parents are frantic with worry. Kate's father has figured out that the machine has something to do with their disappearance--but when ghostly images of the children appear dressed in clothing from the eighteenth-century, it becomes clear that this can't be shared with the public; who knows what destruction could result from the misuse of time travel technology?
The parallel storylines--the children's quest to get back to the present and Kate's father's struggle to bring them back--go together quite nicely. The jumping back and forth is not as confusing as it could have been, and both parts of the story are extremely well-written. The characters are realistic, the storylines interesting, the history fascinating, and, well, every aspect of this book brilliant! The cover is very unique and will draw readers right in. The story inside will not disappoint them, either! GIDEON THE CUTPURSE is the first in a trilogy, and I can't wait for the next two books!
I enjoy time travel books, and this young adult story of two adolescents who accidentally blunder into 1763 via the aid of an anti-gravity generator starts out very well. They are befriended by Gideon, once a cutpurse and now a gentleman, and the time machine is stolen by the evil Tar Man. They must find their way to London and attempt to retrieve it if they are ever to return to their own time. The book slows in pace towards the middle, but picks up again nicely at the end, with a cliffhanger leaving the reader anxious to find out what happens in the sequel. The story was not what I expected, but I liked the two storylines of the children's adventures in the 18th century and their parents' attempts attempts in the 21st century to get them back. However, I could not feel much of a connection to the characters, and that did detract from my enjoyment of the book. The science of the time travel and the children's "blurring" was also rather vague, but acceptable as this genre necessarily requires a suspension of disbelief. Overall a good tale and I will look for the rest of the series.
This is a well read and engaging audio book. The story has good character development and equal measures of drama and adventure with a little comedy thrown in. I really enjoyed the overall story. There are few recent time travel novels of this sort. I do wish that the ending was a little stronger, but overall a fun read.