Time Hunters: Gladiator Clash by Chris Blake

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Time Hunters: Gladiator Clash by Chris Blake

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Buy Time Hunters: Gladiator Clash by Chris Blake at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: A schoolboy and an arrogant Egyptian princess travel in time to ancient Rome to retrieve an amulet.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0007514090

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Time Hunters is a new series of six books featuring a young Egyptian princess and a modern-day schoolboy who team up to locate six hidden amulets, scattered in a variety of dangerous historical locations. Gladiator Clash is the first book in the series and sees the duo magically transported to ancient Rome, where they train with gladiators and compete for a chance to fight in the arena with the most feared gladiator of all, Hilarus, who is currently unbeaten and just happens to possess the lost amulet.

The quest concept is a clever idea and a wonderful way to get children interested in history. The story is packed with facts and figures about the Romans, which young readers will absorb without even realising that they are learning. There is also a short fact file at the end of the book, which contains more facts about the time period. Interestingly, Hilarus, the gladiator in the story, was actually a real person. He was one of ancient Rome’s most successful fighters. He is featured, along with four other gladiators, on a set of cards in the back of the book. The idea is that the children collect the cards when they buy each new book in the series and the cards can be used to play a Top Trumps style game.

The book will appeal to boys and girls aged between 7 and 10. When I first saw the cover art, I presumed that it was geared more toward boys, but I think that the princess character, Isis will attract female readers too. There is plenty of action throughout the story and even some cheeky humour, which kids will enjoy.

The book is not without its flaws however. The plot leading up to the actual time-travel scene was long-winded and convoluted and could have been better planned. I also noticed a spelling mistake on page 74 and I was quite surprised that it made it through to publication.

However, I cannot deny the fact that this series is likely to be very popular with children and I think that anything that sparks a lifelong interest in history is a very valuable tool indeed. I am also intrigued as to what happens to Isis, so I will be looking forward to the next book and the opportunity to add to my card collection!

Fans of Time Hunters will enjoy The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues) by Rick Riordan which is another quest-style book with collector cards. We also have a review of Knight Quest (Time Hunters, Book 2) by Chris Blake.

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Buy Time Hunters: Gladiator Clash by Chris Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Time Hunters: Gladiator Clash by Chris Blake at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Time Hunters: Gladiator Clash by Chris Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Time Hunters: Gladiator Clash by Chris Blake at Amazon.com.

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