Monday 6 February 2012

37. Time Riders Book 5: Gates of Rome by Alex Scarrow

Time Riders Book 5: Gates of Rome by Alex Scarrow
Published February 2012 Penguin

From the publisher:

Project Exodus - a mission to transport 300 Americans from 2070 to ad 54 to overthrow the Roman Empire - has gone catastrophically wrong. Half have arrived seventeen years earlier, during the reign of Caligula.

Liam goes to investigate, but when Maddy and Sal attempt to flee a kill-squad sent to hunt down their field office all of the TimeRiders become trapped in the Roman past.

Armed with knowledge of the future, Caligula is now more powerful than ever. But with their office unmanned - and under threat - how will the TimeRiders make it back to 2001 and put history right?

I love this series, but whenever I try to explain it, I feel it comes across as more confusing than it actually is.  If you don't know the series, I will give you the basics.

There are 3 major characters, Liam, Maddy and Sal.  Liam was going to die aboard the Titanic in 1912, Maddy was going to die in a plane crash in 2010, Sal was going to die in a fire in 2026.  They didn't die.  Instead they were rescued by Foster, who appeared from nowhere and gave them the choice of either leaving with him...or death...they all followed Foster.  These three were recruited as TimeRiders, a group whose job it is to watch a 2 day window of time.  Why?  Because someone in the future has invented a time machine, and if someone uses this technology to go back in time, their presence in that time will have a ripple affect on the world as we know it.  The 2 day window they watch, are the day before and the day of the terrorist attack on the twin towers, these days were chosen because any changes would be very noticeable.

Each book can stand on it's own, as the main 'time travel' events in each story are unconnected.  There are subplots within each book that do connect from book to book.  They're not essential to the story, but they would make more sense if all books had been read in order.  I would say read Book 1 first, as that gives a good understanding of what the books are about.

In each book the team have gone back to different time periods, WW2, Prehistoric times, Sherwood Forest 1194 and The American Civil War in 1831. In this 5th book, the team find themselves in Ancient Rome AD54, facing the emperor Caligula.

It is usually Liam and BOB (their support unit) that go back in time, but due to the 'kill-squad' that was sent to their field office, Maddy and Sal have no choice but to throw themselves into a portal and join Liam and BOB in Ancient Rome.  They are not only trying to right the wrongs of history, but also find a way to get back home when they have no one left to bring them back.

Some of the other questions begin to be answered in this book, such as, who is Foster? Are there really other field offices? Why is there a Titanic uniform identical (even down to the faded wine stain) to Liam's hanging in a costume shop near the field office? And we get the new question...who wants to kill the TimeRiders?

Who will like this book: Boys age 12+
Read it if you like: History

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