In this gripping time travel novel, a perfect piece of children’s fiction for Christmas, Blaize Jackson simply can’t help visiting the past.
He doesn’t want to; in fact what would make the perfect life for Blaize would be to tick along in the middle sets, playing football and staying out of his sister’s way. But events in this children’s fiction book, aimed at the 9-12 market, just take control of Blaize’s life. Firstly, it all seems random, as the unfortunate boy travels in time to various points in history. But at every stop, in every time, he sees that man, the one with the strange eyes. Then Blaize meets Wise, and a friendship in the past begins to develop.
Those who love novels about schools will thrill at the differences between Blaize’s modern day comprehensive and the life of luxury he enjoys – or maybe endures – back in the posh world of the early part of the 20th Century. But while all of this is happening, Blaize’s best mate from the modern era, Marky, gets a cold. And it won’t go away.
Published in time for the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War, in the story, Blaize finds himself once more travelling. And this time it is to the battlefields of Ypres, in Flanders. And it is proving increasingly difficult for him to get back. Blaize makes the perfect piece of children’s fiction for Christmas, especially those fans of the likes of Dr Who, who love time travel fiction, indeed any books on time travel. Without doubt, one of the best world war one books for kids, the story will wow those young people (and, for that matter, adults) who like novels about schools.
Blaize is book one of a trilogy of Blaize Jackson stories. The second edition of the trilogy will be out shortlyy, and is set between the idyllic Isles of Scilly and the rough hewn northern Derbyshire village of Eyam.
Blaize Jackson stood on the edge of the pavement. The cars sped past, too fast for the 30mph speed limit. To his eyes, they travelled quicker still. The noise was constant, invasive, painful.
Blaize blinked once, twice, then again harder this time.
Water smeared his vision, and for a moment, the vehicles blurred. He took a sharp, deep, breath, hard enough to feel the pressure on his chest and, as his eyes cleared, he relaxed. He looked again, saw the clearing and stepped out.
A large, black Mercedes turned off a side street and accelerated towards him and he paused as it passed.
Close by, a horn blarmed and he turned towards the harsh sound, but it was not aimed at him and steadily, more steadily than he felt, he made his way to the opposite pavement.
Past the hairdressers, past the primary school where the after hours clubs were trickling out their members, most still wearing their sports kit, with bags on shoulders and round heads like bandannas on comic strip Mexican bandits.
Past Villiers’ Newsagent, where he could see Jumpy Jim serving some sweets to a couple of kids – never go to Villiers’ without creeping up on Jim, who was deaf as anything, and making him leap, that was the street game around here.
And on to the corner, Ashburton Road, where the slightly frayed Edwardian semis, one of which being home, earned him the nickname ‘Posh Boy’ (something not helped by the proper name his parents had chosen on, presumably in a post party haze of unthinking euphoria) when he had moved to Barton Academy nearly a year ago now.
That name hadn’t lasted long; said once too often by the group, and for the first time by Patterson, the idiot.
Blaize had let the fire loose. Oh, it got him a ticking off by the Head of Year, and a letter home (‘Blaize, take a breath, count to ten, and let it pass.’
Dad’s advice rarely had much practical value).
He stood now at the corner. The children from Jumpy Jim’s caught him up, giggling loudly about something, and the smell of haribous hit him with a sickening sweetness.
They passed, pausing and crossing the road, in their own Primary School world.
Another deep breath, and in the distance, the sound of a siren coming down the main street.
He waited, looking to see what the emergency vehicle would be.
An ambulance, lights flashing, rocking smoothly sped up towards him, through waiting traffic and past, the siren fading until, further up the road at the traffic lights, he saw it slow down and, with a newer, more urgent tone, weave through the trapped cars.
He turned and walked towards home, gate, pause, gate gate, pause, gate gate pause, gate and in, up the drive to the door.
Not bothering with his key (was it still there? Yes.) he rang the bell and waited for mum to open the door.
Blaize braced, then saw the empty hallway before him.
‘Hello darling, want a drink? Lemonade on the side.’ Mum, already back to the kitchen, and her work, called the usual welcome.
He eased down towards the room, where as always Mum had laid out her laptop and notepads, and was tapping urgently on the keyboard.
‘Good day? What did you get up to?’
‘Nothing much, just a trip to London.’
‘That’s nice, you’re back in good time. See anything interesting?’ He knew that her focus was on the writing in front of her and whispered, as the lemonade fizzled into the glass,
‘Yeah, the 17th Century.’