The same thing happens every time. Everything seems normal. the air is quiet and the trees are still. then the loud crash and I lose myself in the chaos. Bodies everywhere, unconscious or dead, I cannot tell. People screaming and running in every direction; me, trying to figure out what has happened.
This is my dream-nightmare.
The same faces appear, but they are blurred, almost like shadows of what they once were. I can make out the outlines of small houses; one of them is on fire. I swivel my head in slow motion, looking at the chaos in the open space to my right.
The boy with the piercing blue eyes appears. Though he is blurred and distorted like the others, I can always recognise those eyes – so clear and bright, like stars in the night sky. Like mine.
Althea is a mid-teen princess, in a post-apocalyptic world, adored and adoring daughter of the King Duncan of Cardiff. She lives in wealth and privilege, even if sometimes royal duties become a bit of a chore. Life would be just about perfect except the fact that she has only one friend and a ‘swain’ she’s having second thoughts about. And then there’s the seizures that are an all-too-regular feature of her day. Not that she’s left to suffer – her father, physician, maid and sentinel are on hand to keep her as comfortable and safe as possible. All this changes when there is an abduction attempt during a parade. Althea’s world begins to unravel, until she has no idea who – if anyone – she can trust.
Time Catcher is the first in a trilogy from new author, Cheree Peters. She has created a world altered by climate change and a virus which has wiped out many and created ‘manipulators’, an outcast and persecuted population on the fringes of Althea’s pampered world. Utopian world even. But perceived Utopias are often not as they seem. Althea has to shrug off the protection and luxury around her to discover who she truly is, and to also discover her place in this world. Althea story is told in first person so the reader discovers with her, and sometimes ahead of her. Themes include truth and justice, power, equity and more. This is to be a trilogy, so the ending is also a beginning. Recommended for upper primary, lower secondary readers.
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller