When I first found The Gideon Trilogy, I kept wondering why I never heard of the franchise until now. I'd actually gone looking for a different book entirely at the book shop but once I saw this collection, I knew I had to have it.
I finished the last book today and already feel sorry I'm all done with The Gideon Trilogy. According to EntertainmentWeekly.com it's , "For kids who love Harry Potter." Well, that would be true but the young and adult readers will find it difficult to compare J.K Rowling's 7 book franchise with Linda Buckley-Archer's 3 book one. Both women are fantastic writers hands down but while J.K Rowling's main subject was magic and the battle between good and evil, Linda Buckley- Archer's Gideon Trilogy was on time travel. And reading this trilogy was like reading a mixture of Doctor Who , Time Cop and Back To The Future, with just a little bit of Jumanji.
Book 1 of the trilogy is The Time Travellers, a.k.a Gideon The Cutpurse. We are introduced to Peter Schock who at the beginning of the story gets into a terrible argument with his father after denied of his birthday treat for the third time because of an important business meeting. Because of this, Peter's German au pair takes him to the country to spend the weekend with her friends, the Dyers. Peter is introduced to the eldest child there, Kate and later accompanied her and her scientist father, Dr. Andrew Dyer to his lab to look into a malfunctioning anti-gravity machine. A little mishap with Kate's dog Molly and all of a sudden, Peter and Molly found themselves in 18th century England, 1763 to be exact! A very unpleasant creature, The Tar Man witnessed their descent from the sky and takes off with the machine, after getting over his shock that is. However there was another witness, a witness who became their strongest and most loyal ally, Gideon Seymour; a reformed thief evading the Tar Man. With other allies who believed their story, they begin their desperate hunt for the Tar Man. Meanwhile, back in the 21st century, Dr. Dyer, the police and other scientists painstakingly try to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Book 3 and the final part of the trilogy is The Time Quake. Lord Luxom arrives in 21st century New York with the plan to change history, in order to turn America back to a British Colony; tricking an American historian to give an idea on how to change the result of the War of Independence. Meanwhile back in 1763, Kate and Peter, along with Gideon, Sir Richard, Hannah and Parson Ledbury hunt for the Tar Man to get the time machine back. But Kate is showing some very disturbing changes-the side effects of time travel- and the world is experiencing 'time quakes' thanks to Lord Luxom's ruthless tampering with history; the solution to the whole mess lie with Kate and Peter... and shockingly enough, the Tar Man.
The Gideon Trilogy was a fun and interesting read, particularly the vivid and detailed description of 18th century England (and France in Book 2) and filled with colourful characters. I imagined Gideon would be a boy older than Kate and Peter and sort of like The Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist but he was the exact opposite, not entirely perfect but a warm, protective and loyal friend, scrupulous to a fault. The Tar Man and Lord Luxom were two despicable characters I hated very much; having no heart and no conscience; all they cared about was their own personal gain and I couldn't wait to see them get their comeuppance, Lord Luxom especially. As for the main characters; Kate Dyer and Peter Schock- at first they were sort of like cat and mouse with each other, petulant and outspoken but later on proved to be resourceful children working their way through their dilemma, making a very great team.
As a reader of historical fiction and romance, plus a huge fan of Doctor Who, I loved this trilogy, almost wishing it didn't end. Aside from the entertaining story lines, the description and practices of Old England, one can't help but ponder about time travel. If it was actually possible, would people resist the urge to change history, telling themselves they wanted to make the world better. Would changing history actually make the world better?
It's definitely a must read for both children and adults and I won't be surprised at all if the trilogy is adapted into movies.
Kudos to Ms Buckley-Archer, for creating another franchise to obsess over.