Jack Morrow is a Yard Boy. He can travel the Sorrowlines to the past. Can he make use of this ability to prevent his mother’s death? In his quest, Jack finds himself in London during the Blitz where he discovers that his role is much greater than he imagined. With his teenage grandfather and the Paladin Knight, Eloise, he must find the Rose of Annwen and prevent it from falling into the hands of the sinister, Rouland. But what is Jack’s connection to the Rose?
Despite the complication of timeslip, and a scenario that allows Jack to exist in the same timeframe as his earlier self, the narrative moves along briskly carrying the reader with it. While the ingredients conform to the conventions of the genre – fractured family, troubled teen, a companion who is also the betrayer, a quest that involves a journey, in this case across time, they are well handled. There are some imaginative touches; the concept of the Sorrowlines in particular, – the channels that connect every gravestone with the date of a person’s death, is an interesting one. As might be expected, action rather that characterisation is more important for the narrative, though both Jack and Davey are neatly defined. The conclusion is, as usual, both an ending of this story and paves the way for the next. I suspect the Timesmith adventures will attract young readers of 11+ and will fit neatly with titles like The Ministry of Pandemonium by Chris Westwood.