Alex Scarrow is the author of a number of thrillers for adults and the young adult sci-fi romp Ellie Quin. This review is an overview of the TimeRiders series, published by Puffin.
‘Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912.
Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010.
Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029.
Yet moments before death, someone mysteriously appeared and said, ‘Take my hand . . .’ ‘
The three main characters are teenagers plucked out of their own time just before they die by a mysterious man known only as Foster. They are initially set up in a base in a lock-up under Williamsburg Bridge in New York in 2001. Thier base is in a 2-day-time-loop with time moving on inside but outside it is always the tenth or eleventh of November 2001. Maddy is the appointed leader of the group, her organisational skills and computer knowledge are key. Liam is given the job of going through time to locate and deal with whatever contamination is happening. Sal is incredibly perceptive and her task is to spot small changes in detail that precedes any major changes to time.
Foster works for an unknown Agency apparently set up by the inventor of time travel, Roald Waldstein, who after seeing the future managed to convince he world’s government to ban time travel. From 2001, the day before and the day of the destruction of the Twin Towers, the team watch for any alteration of time and do whatever is required to put time back on its preferred course. Foster gives the team advice, shows them how to perform their tasks, but then leaves them with little explanation.
Book one (TimeRiders) we are introduced to Bob, a vat grown clone with a vestigial brain that is connected to an AI. Bob is a genetically engineered soldier, or Support Unit, and accompanies Liam on his missions into the past or future.
The team follow a group of travelers from the future to Nazi Germany , intent on ensuring the Allies lose the war.
Book two (TimeRiders: Day of the Predator) a female Support Unit is grown, and called Becks. When attempting to stop an assassination the team accidentally send Liam, Becks and a group of children millions of years in to the past. Where they encounter an undiscovered raptor more intelligent than science is aware of.
Book three (TimeRiders: The Doomsday Code) sees Liam and Becks travel to 1193 in search of a time traveler that is trying to obtain the Voynich manuscript, lost for centuries containing details of the holy grail.
Book four (TimeRiders: The Eternal War) following a fatal accident Abraham Lincoln never became President of the United States. The American Civil War is still raging by 2001.
Book five (TimeRiders: Gates of Rome) the team travel to 1st century AD Rome to stop a group of time travelers escaping from a doomed future of 2070. Two popular characters from Simon Scarrow’s ‘Eagle’ series appear. The team are joined by Rashid Anwar, a scientist from the fleeing group . He brings with him a robotic lab assistant called Sponge Bubba, with the outward appearance and irritating voice of Spongebob Squarepants.
Book six (TimeRiders: City of Shadows) the team relocate to London of 1889 fleeing Support Units that have been sent to kill them. They find themselves in the middle of Jack the Rippers grisly deeds.