Select one of the keywords
Gideon the Cutpurse    by Linda Buckley-Archer order for
Gideon the Cutpurse
by Linda Buckley-Archer
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Twelve-year-old Peter Schock comes from a wealthy English family - his mother makes movies in LA and his father is so busy making business deals that he breaks every promise he makes to spend time with his son. The last time he does so, Peter tells his dad that he hates him (something he soon has cause to regret). Then their au pair takes Peter with her to visit old friends, the Dyers, whose eldest child is red-haired Kate.

Though the Dyers live on a farm in Derbyshire, their scientist dad works at a nearby research site. Mr. Dyer takes Peter, Kate, and the family dog with him to check on something for a colleague. The dog gets loose, Pete and Kate chase after it - and end up in 1763 England, along with the antigravity device that took them there. As Peter recovers consciousness, a villainous, blue-skinned Tar Man steals the device, offering to give Peter a chance to bid for it in London. At first thinking they're in Australia, the children gradually awaken to their new reality ... lost in time.

Luckily they get help - from Gideon Seymour, cutpurse and gentleman, who organizes appropriate clothing for them as well as a ride to London with the local parson. Tom hero worships Gideon, who treats him like a younger brother. They travel by coach, are held up by highwaymen and attacked by footpads. In between adventures, they meet many historical figures, including Charles Darwin's grandfather, the King and Queen of England, and Dr. Samuel Johnson, who compiled the first English dictionary. Despite their fears, Kate and Peter make a blood pact to stick together.

Early on, the children realize that Kate can blur - fade in 1763 and appear as a rather ghostly presence in her original time. Slowly, Peter learns to do so also, the results shocking many in both past and future, and creating funny scenes. As ghost sightings accumulate in the modern day, police officer Detective Inspector Wheeler suspects that Mr. Dyer and his fellow scientists (including U.S. NASA representatives) know something they're not sharing. He presses them hard to tell. Back in 1763, Peter and Kate see London, from a palace to Newgate Prison. Gideon's attempt to win the antigravity device back misfires, putting him in grave peril. Surprising last-minute interventions end the episode and send time travelers back to the future - where, no doubt, DI Wheeler will soon scratch his head again.

The audiobook is delightfully narrated by Gerard Doyle in a variety of regional British accents that give his characters, both male and female, distinct voices. The only thing that I found a little confusing in the audiobook were occasional inserts from Gideon's point of view. Gideon the Cutpurse is a gripping story, a well executed launch for this new series. Historical details are nicely shaded into the action. Kate and Peter comment indignantly on societal differences, puzzle over time paradoxes, and discover that they both have bottom. I look forward to more of their exciting time traveling adventures.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews