The History Keepers: The Storm Begins by Damian Dibben
|The History Keepers: The Storm Begins by Damian Dibben|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Highly enjoyable and visual time-slip romp, taking in present day London, 19th century France and 16th century Venice. Lots of humour and high adventure make for a satisfying light read - don't expect too much in the way of metaphysics.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: September 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
Imagine if you lost your parents. Not just in place, but in time
Scary, huh? But this is exactly what happens to Jake Djones (silent D, dears). Believing his parents have gone to a bathroom convention, he's carrying on as usual until they get home. But then he's abducted on his way home from school and taken to a secret base hidden beneath the Monument in London. Jake discovers that his parents have kept a secret from him: they are secret agents working for the History Keepers, working to prevent evil villains from tampering with history itself, and they have gone missing in sixteenth century Venice. Before the day is out, Jake finds himself en route to France in 1820, to rendezvous with the other agents in the organisation, and begin a mission to rescue his parents...
This is an utterly rambunctious read, full of swashbuckling adventure and peopled with vivid, if rather one-dimensional, characters. The goodies are very good and the baddies are very bad. The action sweeps along and moves effortlessly from present-day London through eighteenth century France to sixteenth century Venice. Dibben doesn't waste any time at all and it's easy to keep reading for hours without realising. There's a deal of humour, too. Agent Nathan Wilder is my favourite: originally from the American South during the Civil War, he's a real dandy, obsessing over his clothes and his hair and his manicure, but always ready for a good fight. The whole thing has great heart and highspiritedness.
Everything is very visual and it's not surprising that the film rights for this planned trilogy have already been sold. I can see it - and look forward to it - on the big screen. However, I will say that the various implications of time travel aren't really considered in anything other than a superficial way. Don't expect metaphysics. And the actual function of the History Keepers is all a bit vague. They are the goodies and they stop the baddies ruining history. But quite how they go about it isn't at all clear until this first instalment is almost over. This is a book for fans of adventure stories, not those who like mindbending science. But for adrenalin junkies, it's just great.
My thanks to the good people at Doubleday for sending the book.
Those looking for something with a more complex examination of time and some wild surrealism could look at Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson. The Bad Tuesdays: Twisted Symmetry by Benjamin J Myers takes a darker view of secret societies fighting the good fight across the dimensions.
You can read more book reviews or buy The History Keepers: The Storm Begins by Damian Dibben at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The History Keepers: The Storm Begins by Damian Dibben at Amazon.com.
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