S.W. Lothian’s imagination holds no bounds, as we found in his previous books – the Quest series – when some kids were drawn to ancient Egypt via Time Square. Now Time Square takes centre stage in this exciting adventure in which the very existence of time is threatened.
We are in the 1930s. Dr. Hudson returns from an expedition to the recently discovered Machu Picchu with a strange obelisk. He shows it to his children, twins Eva and Lewis, and they find themselves whisked through a time portal to Time Square – where someone is expecting them. Someone not very pleased. Someone very pompous. Someone who is expecting trouble. Big trouble.
The obelisk turns out to be central to the maintenance of time. It’s been moved and placed in totally unsuitable conditions. Time reacts violently – very violently, and Time Square is in chaos as a result. The only thing to do is return the obelisk to its proper position – but Dr. Hudson’s science rival has stolen it and moved it once again. Forbidden to mess further with time, Dr. Hudson can only watch and wait as the experts get to work to save them.
It’s an exciting storyline. There are lovely touches, such as the people with alliterative names who speak alliteratively too! I laughed out loud at a line I really should have seen coming. Time Square is beautifully described; the chaos that reigns during shifts is suitably pendular, so that things rush to and fro across the floor as time shifts. One could get quite seasick reading it! I confess that my editor would be more than seasick with something she would never let me get away with, namely the insistence on Dr even when suggesting the doctor might do something. Other minor details nag; readers who have visited Machu Picchu should suspend their memories of the trip. The very conservative, somewhat Indiana Jones-style research that Dr Hudson professes to undertake sits against a rather more Joker- or Penguin-like villain. The dialogue is very modern, whether 30s, 70s or contemporary (whatever that means in Time Square). These are really matters of taste, and it makes for an eclectic mixture. But unfortunately Mr Lothian commits what I consider one of the cardinal sins of series writing, which completely spoilt it for me. Just when the kids are ready to set out on an exciting escapade, it stops.
See my reviews of the Quest series:
I received an Advance Review Copy from the author for my honest, unbiased review.