The Time Quintet is the general series name for A Wrinkle in Time and its successors by Madeleine L’Engle. Published from 1962 through to the late 1980s, they were considered masterpieces of juvenile time-related fiction. They escaped me entirely. As you’ll see from these, plus my reviews of A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet, they are a mixed bunch. Here I finish the series with reviews of Many Waters and An Acceptable Time. I reckon 2, 3 and 5 are my favourites.
Many Waters (Time Quintet #4)
by Madeleine L’Engle
Sandy and Dennys have always been the normal, run-of-the-mill ones in the extraodinary Murry family. They garden, make an occasional A in school, and play baseball. Nothing especially interesting has happened to the twins until they accidentally interrupt their father’s experiment.
Then the two boys are thrown across time and space. They find themselves alone in the desert, where, if they believe in unicorns, they can find unicorns, and whether they believe or not, mammoths and manticores will find them.
The twins are rescued by Japheth, a man from the nearby oasis, but before he can bring them to safety, Dennys gets lost. Each boy is quickly embroiled in the conflicts of this time and place, whose populations includes winged seraphim, a few stray mythic beasts, perilous and beautiful nephilim, and small, long lived humans who consider Sandy and Dennys giants. The boys find they have more to do in the oasis than simply getting themselves home–they have to reunite an estranged father and son, but it won’t be easy, especially when the son is named Noah and he’s about to start building a boat in the desert. [goodreads]
An Acceptable Time (Time Quintet #5)
by Madeleine L’Engle
An Acceptable Time , the final book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet, the series that began with the Newbery Award winner A Wrinkle in Time. While spending time with her grandparents, Alex and Kate Murry, Polly O’Keefe wanders into a time 3,000 years before her own.
A flash of lightning, quivering ground, and, instead of her grandparents’ farm, Polly sees mist and jagged mountains — and coming toward her, a group of young men carrying spears.
Why has a time gate opened and dropped Polly into a world that existed 3,000 years ago? Will she be able to get back to the present before the time gate closes — and leaves her to face a group of people who believe in human sacrifice? [goodreads]
It may say more about me than about the book that I not only didn’t get on with Many Waters, I detested it. I’m not sure whether it was the setting… I mean, I think just about every kid from toddler up knows the story. Noah built an ark and put the animals in it two by two to save them from the flood. Some readers may love this twist on the story, with some really good descriptions of life in the desert oasis. But Sandy and Dennis are not for me, and the little frisson of interest of some local girls in them made me like them even less. Reuniting estranged father and son was even less interesting than watching rain fall. I gave up on it.
So why was I immediately smitten with An Acceptable Time? Was it Polly, specifically? More interesting and intelligent than her uncles to be sure. But also there was far more of a puzzle to entertain the reader when it came to the where and when (and how) of the time shift. There were no preconceived ideas about what might happen. There were twists a-plenty, and it reminded me of how I felt when I read the first in the series. This is a brilliant book, and a worthy conclusion to the series.