Review Blog

Sep 03 2013

Julius and the Watchmaker by Tim Hehir

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Text, 2013. ISBN: 9781922079732.
Recommended for readers from 12-14 years of age. Subjects: Time travel, Clocks and watches, Fantasy, Steampunk, Victorian England, Science Fiction, Adventure. Tim Hehir's first novel set in 1837 London is complex and intriguing, taking young Julius Higgins on unbelievable escapades, fighting villains, making new friends, time-travelling into alternate worlds and meeting literary and historical figures.
Julius works in his grandfather's bookshop in Ironmonger Lane, until Jack Springheel a mysterious clock collector comes looking for John Harrison the famous watchmaker's diary. Quickly Julius is drawn into the adventure becoming a runaway and a thief stealing the diary, making a regretful deal with Springheel. Fortunately he also meets the professor and Mr Flynn who come to his assistance with another time piece that allows time travel.
The cast of characters add richness to the plot's complexity, Emily and her band of street urchins, the fierce Grackacks who inhabit an alternate London, to Christian Machine and the clockmen, the rich and poor of Victorian England. Hehir's attention to detail is evident, from the housing, architecture, historic events even using the vernacular of the day all adds depth and interest to the novel.
Julius is thrown into alternative worlds that are frightening, confronting and strange. London controlled by the power hungry Grackacks is preparing for a war with amazing flying machines zettmalins in the sky and huge wheeled steel ships docked at the river. Each chapter is titled with a date and time to allow the reader to follow Julius forwards and backwards in Victorian England. Tim Hehir's captivating time travel novel is the first in the Watchmaker series.
Rhyllis Bignell

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