Yesterday, I discussed the first book in the Gideon Trilogy: Gideon the Cutpurse (or The Time Travelers). The sequel – The Time Thief – manages to match, or top, the suspense and intrigue of book one while setting high expectations for the final book.
In book one Kate Dwyer and Peter Schrock are accidentally transported to the 18th century by an anti-gravity machine only to have it captured by a villain named Tar Man. After much adventure, and help from Gideon, the two manage to get the machine back but the Tar Man – and Peter’s fondness for Giedon, botch their return home. As a result the Tar Man is sent to the future while Peter is trapped in the past.
While this was going on the adults aware of what really happened debate what is to be done. Some argue that the machine must be destroyed as it could wreck havoc on history, and thus the present and future, by endlessly interfering in the past. In the second book this debate continues with increasing urgency. Meanwhile, the Tar Man manages to set himself up in London and begins to build his wealth and influence in the criminal world.
No matter what the adults say Kate is determined to rescue her friend. But when she attempts to do so things once again go awry. It turns out the settings on the machine were off and Kate, along with Peter’s father, end up in 1792 instead of 1763. They meet up with Peter – but pretending to be Gideon’s brother Joshua – as a grown man. To make matters worse the machine is broken and who in the 18th century could possibly fix it?
So now we have Peter trying to hid his true identity in oder to convince his dad and Kate to return to the present so that they can return to 1763 to rescue the twelve year old that was lost instead of the grown man he has become; we have the police still trying to get to the bottom of what really happnened; NASA seeking to destroy the machine to avoid the unintended consequences of time travel; and we have the Tar Man plotting to use the time machine for his own nefarious purposes.
The Time Thief is just what readers look for in the second book in a trilogy: more adventures with the same characters and settings but with enough plot twists and turns to keep them guessing; a chance to get to know their favorite characters better; and a building tension left to be resolved by the final book.
Buckley-Archer once again does a nice job of weaving all the plot lines together. The action takes place in modern day London, 18th century England, and revolutionary France but it never gets bogged down. She takes the time to build the character’s relationships, and explore the history and setting the time travel device provides, but there are plenty of action sequences and plot twists to keep the reader pressing forward.
Sometimes the second book in a trilogy can end up a little slow, especially if it is a bridge between the excitement of the first book and the suspense of the conclusion, but Buckley-Archer has avoided this trap completley. If anything, The Time Thief is more exciting than the first book. Which means that she has once again ratcheted up the expectations for the third and final book.
I for one can’t wait to read how she brings this great series to an end. If you have young readers who haven’t yet read the first two books, or if like me you enjoy a good adventure no matter what the age level, I can highly recommend them.
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