The Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Great Britain.
Series also known as The Enlightenment of Peter Schock.

Gideon the Cutpurse: 2006
Published in the U.S. as The Time Travelers

The Tar Man: 2007
Published in the U.S. as The Time Thief

Gideon the Cutpurse: This is a contemporary time travel book in which two children are transported back to 18th century England accidentally by a Van de Graff generator in a physics laboratory. Some of their time is spent trying to fit in and telling of the future, but mostly the book has a historical fiction feel. The children's travel device is stolen. They meet an ex-thief who watches out for them and tries to help them recover the device from the thieves, who happen to be part of his ex-organization. Much of the story deals with Gideon's (ex-thief) struggle against his old friends. There are also flashes of the 21st century investigation into the disappearance of the two children.

The story was a little slow getting started for me, but once hooked it was quite good. There is a Dickensian feel to it, though broken up by the updates of the contemporary search. The strong characters are mostly the thieves. I particularly like Gideon. I also enjoyed the effect the generator has on the kids and the stir it causes. The focus of the story is on the setting (handled well), mystery, and adventure. The ending is slightly predictable but with a promise of more adventure to come.
related-time travel, robbers and outlaws, history of Great Britain, George III, fathers and sons, London

The Time Thief: The book starts with description of the ending event from the first book. There is a brief explanation of the first book, so it is possible to read this book only, though the reader may miss some things. The book takes off in a totally different direction than the first (not a bad thing). This second book explores more of the time travel issues than the first did-both what can be done and how it might affect people and the universe. Not very scientific, but highly entertaining. There were a couple twists I didn't expect, including the ending.

There is a historical fiction segment in the book as well; this time it deals with the French Revolution. At the end of the first book, Peter gets stuck in 1763. While the grownups discuss whether it is safe to travel in time again, Kate conspires with Peter's father to go back and rescue him. Due to interference with the travel device, they are transported to 1792 instead, so Peter has been living in the past for twenty-nine years. They meet his older self, and he pretends to be someone else to encourage them to go back to 1763 for the twelve year old.

There is also another criminal section since the Tar Man has been transported to the 21st century. He finds his niche quickly and also has contact with Lord Luxom in 1763. He has unfinished business with Lord Luxom which is important for book three and will draw Gideon into the story once again.

The book is long, but I hope that won't deter readers, as I believe it is better than the first-with more complexity and stronger characters. It may even be one to reread while waiting for the third to be published.

*Note carefully the titles, since the change of titles has caused some confusion.

related-time travel, robbers and outlaws, fathers and sons, French Revolution, Great Britain, London

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