One For Sorrow by Philip Caveney

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One For Sorrow by Philip Caveney

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: You'd think, wouldn't you, that Tom Afflick would move heaven and earth to avoid leaving Manchester to go to Edinburgh: on his last two visits there he ended up tumbling into the past, where he met all manner of scary folk. But parents tend to be pretty determined to get their own way about such things, and no way are they going to swallow some mad tale about him being chased by plague doctors and other assorted murderers. So, off he has to go, and yes – he's barely set foot in Auld Reekie when he's time travelling again, in a wondrous mix of drama, real live people and deadly peril.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Fledgling Press
External links: [ Author's website]
ISBN: 9781905916955

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Time travel isn't really an adequate term to describe what happens to fourteen-year-old Tom Afflick in this excellent series. He doesn't just slip from the present to a fixed moment in the past: he moves around in time, and even finds himself in other, more bizarre realities where familiar people suddenly dissolve into raving monsters or pathetic drunks. And if that weren't enough of a problem, he is pursued wherever and whenever he goes throughout the three books by McSweeny, a crazed plague doctor from 1645 who wants nothing more than to hurt Tom by any means possible. In fact, this particular homicidal maniac is so determined to get his revenge on our hero that he won't even allow his own death to get in his way. Let's face it - whatever you think of his intentions, you can't fault the guy's determination, can you?

There's something really satisfying about recognising the real-life details and people Mr Caveney inserts into his stories. Here we meet Robert Louis Stevenson, author (if Tom manages to persuade him to get on with writing it) of the famous Treasure Island. He is already, when Tom encounters him in 1881, a very sick man, and his wife and son try hard to stop him wearing himself out rewriting the story he published in real life in serial form in a children's magazine. But Tom, who's just started reading the novel on the e-reader he got for Christmas, knows how important this book is going to be so he has no hesitation in urging the author to keep working despite his poor health. Indeed, Tom goes further: he also manages to slip into the conversation a couple of references to a certain pair of characters called Jekyll and Hyde which give Stevenson the first glimmerings of an idea for another book...

This is a stunning story, brimming with moments of heart-stopping terror, tender scenes when Tom meets an old friend (don't worry, there's no mush: they just hug!) and quite a lot of gentle humour. There's a very funny moment when the Stevensons first see Tom's sweatshirt, emblazoned as it is with a gorilla in a top hat and suit and the words Go Ape! in bright orange letters. All Tom can do is insist this is absolutely the latest fashion in Manchester, and change the subject as quickly as possible. He has to do that quite a lot, actually, especially when he lets slip some contemporary expression or refers to events that haven't happened yet. The hardest thing of all, of course, is knowing when and how people he cares for will die: should he warn them, or is that way too much in the way of meddling? What would the result be for the future if a person didn't die at their appointed time? Lots to think about, if the non-stop thrills give you time!

You don't have to read the earlier two books in this series, because Mr Caveney very expertly inserts all the important information into this story. But they're such good tales, and the scariness factor is so much greater if you do, so why miss out? Start with Crow Boy, then follow it up with Seventeen Coffins. See? Even the titles are enough to make you shiver! And then, if you've become a true Caveney fan, move onto Night on Terror Island about a boy who is sent into a movie. The title says it all!

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Buy One For Sorrow by Philip Caveney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One For Sorrow by Philip Caveney at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy One For Sorrow by Philip Caveney at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy One For Sorrow by Philip Caveney at


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