The Demon in the Embers

Written by Julia Edwards
Review by Richard Tearle

Joe is an 11-year-old boy with a St Christopher medallion that enables him to travel back in time. Trouble is, he has little control as to where and when it will take him, though it does manage to keep him in the same time zone and location until the adventure has finished.

In this, the fourth in a series, Joe is taken back to 1666, a few weeks before the Great Fire of London. There he meets up with the family who seem to accompany him on his adventures, and though he always knows them, they do not recognise him each time, except for Lucy, a girl of about his age. Can they prevent the Great Fire and thwart the plans of the evil Tobias?

Descriptions of London and the historical events contained therein are well done, so the book can act not only as a fast-moving adventure, but also as a vivid introduction to the period. The only criticism I have is that coming into a series before the start, I have no idea how Joe got the medallion, how he discovered its properties, and why he keeps meeting the same family. I’m sure this is explained fully in the first of the series, but I feel shorter explanations should be included in all subsequent volumes.