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*The Time Pirate: A Nick McIver Time Adventure* by Ted Bell- young readers fantasy book review
The Time Pirate: A Nick McIver Time Adventure
by Ted Bell
Ages 10-14 464 pages St. Martin's Griffin April 2010 Hardcover    

Sequel to Ted Bell’s highly praised adventure Nick of Time, The Time Pirate offers more fascinating historical events, time travel and a bit of alternative history, creating a fast-paced adventure that is difficult to put down.

Told in two “books,” the story’s prologue features not our hero Nick McIver, but rather a naval historian researching the historical events surrounding Nick of Time - that is, the Napoleonic Wars, the encounter with pirate Billy Blood and the involvement of a mysterious time machine. Having set the stage, the author subsequently immerses the reader in the current life of Nick McIver in 1940 on his tiny island home in the English Channel, anticipating an invasion by the Nazis.

Nick finds and refurbishes his father’s World War I aeroplane in an old barn on the island. Learning to fly from his father, Nick becomes an aerial spy, taking pictures of Nazi activity on the islands and throwing homemade bombs to disrupt their activities. After causing significant damage, Nick faces a harrowing escape from the Nazis and loses his plane in the depths of the ocean.

Meanwhile, the evil pirate Billy Blood, back in 1781 Jamaica, is amassing a tremendous pirate fleet with the intention of ambushing the French on their way to assist America in the Revolutionary War. Blood is also planning a way to secure Nick’s time machine with a plan to kidnap his younger sister, Kate. Nick devises a plan to deceive Blood and save his sister, thus thwarting the pirate’s plans and inciting his rage.

The second “book” focuses on Nick’s realization that American involvement will be critical to Britain’s defense against the Nazis and his new knowledge of Billy Blood’s plans to prevent the French from helping the Americans in the Revolutionary War. If the Americans were to lose the war, then they could not come to England’s aid in World War II.

Nick must once again go back in time to betray his home country for the greater good of Britain in 1940. This concluding section features a great deal of history, military strategy and non-stop action as Nick must gain the trust of George Washington and the allegiance of General Lafayette to outwit Billy Blood’s plans.

It is easy to suspend one’s disbelief and trust in the cunning and heroism of twelve-year-old Nick as he plans and executes so many daring adventures, always true to his country, his family and trusted companions. Unlike Nick of Time, the action in The Time Pirate takes place mostly sequentially, with Nick at the center of each major event. Maps of Greybeard Island on the end papers and periodic full-page drawings help the reader to visualize understand the geography and envision key events.

Written as a third-person narrative, the book is well-grounded in real historical events and keeps the reader’s interest utilizing dialog and elements of suspense, as well as Nick’s exciting deeds and plans. Although there is some stereotyping of the American Indian and the brutal nature of pirates, these elements fit well into Nick’s adventure and for the most part hold true within the context of the story.

Nick’s character remains true throughout; loyal and brave, learning from past mistakes and humble to the end in the face of heroes greater than himself. Readers will hopefully look forward to more installments in the Nick McIver Time Adventure series. Highly Recommended.

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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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