Mai didn’t even have time to scream. The two men grabbed her at the end of her street and threw her into the black van. One had half-shoved a gag over her mouth before she started lashing out. She looked into the eyes of the man in front of her, a near-bald bulky thug, who was trying to get a sack over her head. She kicked him in the middle of the forehead, and then spat the gag free.
The black van pulled up down the street from Jacque’s house and the three men had a clear view of him standing halfway up a wobbling ladder, trying to reach his bedroom window. He had stopped climbing momentarily and looked around. An odd feeling that something wasn’t quite right had filled him.
Two very different teenagers from opposite ends of the world (Sydney and London) are kidnapped and taken to Switzerland. Mai is an Olympic athlete and academic. Jacques loves computer games. For reasons that take some while to be clear to them, they are particularly suited to time travel. Their first surprise is that they are not French. But there is no time to spend understanding, only time to be travelling. Mei and Jack, accompanied by knowledgeable if unexpected others are off to the past to save the world. Along the way there are challenges that need their disparate skills. Time changes everything.
Time Vandals is a crazy romp through time and history. Mai and Jack appear to have very little in common beyond eye colour, but it is important that they find ways to work together if the world is to be saved. There is very little about any of their worlds that can be taken for granted, and they must be constantly adjusting their perceptions and expectations. Each character has the opportunity to shine. There is also the opportunity to see what could have happened if the outcome of historic military encounters had been different. From Napoleon to zombies, from cats to gargoyles, ‘Time Vandals’ is action-packed and hilarious. Sure to appeal to upper primary and early secondary readers.
Time Vandals, Craig Cormick
Omnibus Books 2012
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
Available from good bookstores or online.