"A time travel adventure story up there with the best"
You can always rely on Josh Lacey to write first class adventure stories, often with historical settings, and he certainly doesn’t disappoint here.
Twins Scarlett and Thomas are getting on with their history homework in typically different ways – Scarlett carefully researching, Thomas not so much – when their eccentric inventor Grandad comes up with an unusual shortcut for Thomas: time travel. He merrily sends Thomas back to 859 AD, forgetting to give him the all-important gadget that will enable him to return. Her brother might be annoying, but Scarlett can’t face the thought of him being stuck forever in the past, so heads back in time to help. Thomas finds himself on a Viking longship, while Scarlett ends up in an Anglo-Saxon village with a young Alfred the Great. How they are reunited and the experiences they have make for an absolutely thrilling adventure, offering a proper insiders’ view of ninth century life. The Vikings are likeable, even though they are murderous, and Alfred far more than the weedy spoiler of cake he often appears.
This is one of the best evocations of Viking times I’ve read, all the characters live and breathe on the page, and readers really will feel they’ve been back in time too. A warning – the battle scenes are extremely gory, with no glossing over the details. There are more adventures to come in this series, which is great news.