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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: ted bell


Ted Bell’s Nick of Time is part of the Alex Hawke series, Bell’s line of spy adventure novels. Nick of Time is the first young adult addition to the series, and serves well as a stand alone title. I found it enjoyable without being familiar to the earlier books.

Nick of Time is an enthralling read from beginning to end. The lead character, Nicholas McIver, is alive in the 1930s, but the character is so well-written, he could fit seamlessly in any time period (and soon does). Nick is plucky, adventurous, and is rich with boyish charm and a fervent desire for heroics of that of hero, Admiral Nelson.

His sister, Kate, is just as charming and precocious. She’s admiring of her brother, and the moments between the two characters were some of my favorites. The two live with their family in a lighthouse in the smallest of the Channel Islands, on Greybeard Island. Nick spends his days sailing the waters around the island, and develops a keen sense of every rock and reef surrounding them. One day, out on such an excursion, Nick discovers a mysterious chest, sent from 1805 by his ancestor, the Royal Navy’s Captain Nicholas McIver. Inside Nick finds a time machine, along with a letter, and learns the Captain and his entire fleet, Nelson’s men, are under attack by the treacherous Billy Blood. And he’ll stop at nothing to get the time machine, a double to the one he possesses. Meanwhile, the Nazis have their submarines in English waters and are closing in.

Kate and Nick enlist the help of the Lord Alexander Hawke, and his right-hand man, Commander Hobbes. Hobbes and Kate stay behind in 1939 to warn Churchhill of the impending Nazi invasion, while Hawke and Nick travel back to 1805 to help defeat Billy Blood, who travels throughout time, kidnapping children and livestock, and holding them for ransom. It is then that Nick discovers how he truly is a hero.

Nick of Time is action-packed from start to finish. It’s well-paced, with a mixture of fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction. Although my grasp of history isn’t that impressive, the details within the novel kept me riveted, from the descriptions of Nick’s encounters with his ancestor to the battle scenes, which moved quickly and weren’t bogged down in gratuitous detail. The emotional content of the novel also kept me hooked, especially in a poginant scene between Nelson and Nick. Nick of Time is a young adult book, but will capture the attention of any reader with its richly drawn characters, exciting action, and tender emotion for parents, for one’s country, and for family.

Nick of Time is available in hardback now from St. Martins. Copy for review provided by the publisher.

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