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Gideon the Cutpurse

Linda Buckley-Archer

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

Published : 2006

Copyright : Linda Buckley-Archer 2006

ISBN-10 : HB 1-4169-1655-5
ISBN-13 : HB 978-1-4169-1655-0

Publisher's Write-Up

I was overcome with wonder and amazement when Peter told me he had come from the future. Then I saw the fear in his face and I realised that his journey through the centuries had made him an orphan just as surely as I had been orphaned by the fever. The Life and Times of Gideon Seymour, Cutpurse and Gentleman. 1792.

An encounter with an anti-gravity machine catapults Peter Schock and Kate Dyer back to the 18th century and sets in motion a calamitous chain of events. While a massive police hunt gets underway to find the missing children in the 21st century - in 1763, a hardened criminal, the Tar Man, steals the anti-gravity machine and disappears into the London underworld. Stranded in another time and forced to chase the Tar Man to his lair, Peter and Kate find a friend and guide in reformed cutpurse, Gideon Seymour. Gideon does every thing he can to help them, but will his dark past catch up with him before the machine is recovered?

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (240306) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
Could you imagine being told by someone that they have come from the future? Or actually seeing them arrive? When Peter and Kate are transported back to the 18th century, they are found with the contraption that took them by someone known as the Tar Man, or Blueskin. He takes the machine and leaves them not knowing how they have got to wherever it is that they have found themselves.

Gideon is the man who helps Peter and Kate, he has arrived in the area to take a post with a family, leaving his former employer wanting his return. His helping the children coincides with an attempt by his former employer to force him back, utilizing the services of the Tar Man. He feels badly that their machine has been taken by the Tar Man and takes them to the home of his new employer and from there back to London, where the Tar Man has also taken their machine.

Meanwhile, in the 21st century, the police are searching for Peter and Kate, and the scientists are trying to figure out what has happened to both the children and their machine. The police are highly suspicious of the lack of information about the children, and when a sighting is reported of them in London, dressed in old fashioned clothes in a supermarket car park, everything gets rather more complicated.

I liked the interplay between the two timezones – some books about time travel tell only the story of those who travel, ignoring the anguish of those left behind. It was important that the children were missed, and allows for some good interchange between the police and the parents. Most interestingly, the time machine is actually part of a NASA project – might that be significant? I am not sure, but I liked the fact that NASA are farming out bits of research to small facilities in Derbyshire.

A great deal of effort has gone into creating this story, illustrating the contrast between harsh lives of people in the 18th century and those of the children that have come from the present. Whilst I knew in a general way of the filth and the violence meted out to poor people, this is quite graphic in showing how the treatment of people depended not on their crime but on the size of their purse.

This book is the opening instalment of a series, and the scene has now been set for a much more wide-reaching story, and whilst this is a good story in its own right, it is by no means finished. The potential is here for a fabulous series, it has got it all, a hero, a villain, a shadowy lord and a contraption that could be used for good or ill, depending on who has it… history could really be theirs for the making.
Chrissi (24th March 2006)

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