I am a fan of Barbara Erskine’s time slip novels—and this is a superb equivalent for younger readers, boys especially, but adventure-loving girls (and adults!) will also enjoy this engrossing read.
It is June 1995. Thirteen-year-old Tobias Allinson is at his grandparents’ farm near Naseby. His ancestor of the same name founded the farm soon after the English Civil Wars, and ever since, his descendants have been hoping to find the treasure that was supposedly buried there.
Following a great storm Tobias has an accident—and wakes to find himself a grown man in 1645, wearing the uniform of Captain Tobias Allinson, a servant of Parliament, on Cromwell’s personal staff. He has an important message for Sir Thomas Fairfax but has been captured by deserters. One of his captors is Sergeant Blackmore, who Allinson easily outwits, and ultimately befriends. The Royalists and Roundheads are preparing for battle—Naseby—and Tobias finds himself in the thick of adventure and a series of exciting escapades, mostly revolving around the scurrilous Blackmore. Allinson is to meet Cromwell, Fairfax, and Prince Rupert, take part in the battle and eventually settle in an old, abandoned farm where, so Blackmore boasts, he hid some treasure. Awakening from severe concussion, young Tobias in the present day is determined to find it.
I enjoyed this adventure from the opening page right through to the last. The time slip transference from present to past was smoothly, and believably, done. While some of the story is predictable from an adult’s point of view, this is for younger readers who will be engrossed in the action and motives of the characters while learning a bit of accurate history. The cover is fabulous; the writing, spot on. This is a book which should be in every school library and on the curriculum reading list. Good stuff.
** Shortlisted for the 2014 HNS Indie Award **