Review – Time Trap by Richard Smith
The story commences as Jamie and his school friend Todd are visiting Jamie’s Uncle Simon in London, who happens to reside in the house of one mysterious Hector Lightfoot. Lightfoot it so happens was working on a secret scientific project when he vanished without trace in the 19th Century. Simon, keen to show the boys something to aid their science projects, takes the boys – through a huge thunderstorm – to see Hector’s lab; recently discovered under the British Museum. While the boys are left alone for a brief moment in the lab, lightning strikes, and in doing so activates the lab’s strange arch device. This device then throws the boys back through time over a 100 years, and the ‘adventure’ begins.
Upon discovering, to their obvious amazement, what has transpired, the boys set of in search of Hector Lightfoot and his assistant Catherine. Events though naturally don’t go to plan as the boys struggle in their new unfamiliar surroundings. After a mysterious stranger prevents them being mugged twice in a matter of moments, they are not to prove so lucky a third time and are left coat-less and in rags. Now unable to gain access to meet Catherine, the boys are forced to turn to street gangs and crime to raise funds to bribe entrance to an audience with Catherine – their only potential saviour after attempts to find Hector are fruitless.
As Smith’s tale continues the action ramps up, discoveries are made and the boys are forced to question who they can really trust. And, will they make it back before the disease Todd has contracted takes his life?
Richard Smith has in Time Trap, a very polished debut novel. The research undertaken is evident throughout; the fog-laden city of London, the characters found therein and the localised speech patterns used. Although targeted for the 10-12 year old range, or Middle-Grade, the book does show appeal for older readers – though in fairness, as one would expect, it does feel slightly ‘lite’ from that perspective. Todd in particular though shows good growth as a character, and the action scenes successfully conjure in the mind images of crime and life on the streets of London in 1862.
Does it appeal to it’s target audience? Well, my 10 year old, well-read son has been reading Time Trap solidly over the last few days and loves it – To the point of asking on several occasions when we will visit London to follow the Time Trap Trail associated with the book. Smith it seems has certainly succeeded in weaving a wonderful tale, and with the trail, even gives you something extra!
**** 4 Stars