5th February 2013
Karl and Esther live in a small village in Lincolnshire in the nineteenth century. Karl is the son of a German architect, dead for many years, and is brought up by his mother and aunt. Esther’s family runs the village pub. They are best friends. By sheer accident (and Karl’s inability to listen to his mother’s warning) they get drawn into the machinations of a secret organisation trying to find an artefact which will allow them to see the future. Travelling by yacht and narrow boat they make it to Nottingham and help interrupt the conspirator’s plans, gaining, and losing, several new friends along the way.
This novel is an adventure for young teenage readers; it is set in the East Midlands, specifically Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, and the characters of Karl and Esther use Lincolnshire dialect at times. It’s my own dialect and it looks strange written down. The use of dialect for the children and more formal English for some of the adults establishes social class, and the detailed descriptions of the geography and waterways of the region help provide some depth to the ‘background’.
I can’t say I was riveted by the plot but it was engaging enough. The characters didn’t have the depth of the background, unfortunately. The author has potential but I think the characterisation needs working on. It would be interesting to see how the story line develops in the next two books in the trilogy.