This is the first of a projected series of books featuring protagonists Captain Holloway, Jim Carmody and Tom Pile. It is 1940 and mysterious lights in the sky have been reported in Litton Cheney. The residents’ mood is anxious and unsettled at the fear of imminent German invasion and, as a result, much of the information is not taken seriously in most quarters-with one exception. Captain Holloway and Corporal Carmody work for a secret government department, set up to investigate unexplained and supernatural incidents. Since similar lights had been seen in 1900, the two men set to work.
Their suspicions of supernatural activity were confirmed when a terrified boy – Tom Pile – suddenly and inexplicably appeared, 40 years out of his time. The book is written largely with Carmody as narrator and the text is peppered with official reports, interviews and photographs-and communications from a German spy back to headquarters. In this way, credibility is developed and the interest level kept high. The storyline moves on at a smart pace but there is pause for reflection and absorption, too, when Carmody describes the life of the village, for example, or the appearance of the lights. Since Carmody is possessed of a degree of intuition and foresight, coupled with a prodigious ability to read signs and patterns, he is able to illuminate Tom’s experience.
It soon becomes clear that the beings who transferred Tom from one time to another are extra-terrestrial in nature and benign in their dealings with the boy. Tom is able to communicate with them by means of concentrated light, but verbal communication exists only inside his mind. With the war in full spate, the appearance of the beings and the potential of Tom’s power can only be wondered at and this, in addition to a short extract from the next book in the series, will only serve to whet readers’ appetites.