Owen turned to Cat but she was staring into the woods, her face a mast of fear. Far off, but moving closer, were two figures, both white, both faceless, seeming to glide between the trees. "The Harsh" whispered Cati."They're here."
One day the world around Owen shifts oddly: Time flows backwards, and the world and family he knew disappear. Time can only be set right when the Resisters vanquish their ancient enemies, the Harsh. Unless they are stopped, everything Owen knows will vanish as if it has never been...And Owen discovers he has a terrifying role to play in this battle: he is the Navigator.
McNamee (Resurrection Man, for adults) makes his YA debut with an inventive time travel story. Owen lives in the shadow of a father who committed suicide, but readers barely get to meet the young hero before he encounters a tiny man who warns him, "It has begun... it is to be you." From there, Owen is whisked to the Workhouse, "the center of the Resisters to the Harsh and the frost of eternal solitude that they wish to loose upon the earth." He is taken in by these "custodians of time," who tell him about the Harsh-faceless creatures that "long for emptiness, for cold nothingness." To this end, the Harsh have begun the Puissance, which is causing time to run backwards. In order to defeat the Harsh, Owen and new friend Cati must find the Mortmain, a device of unknown shape and size that can destroy the Great Machine causing the Puissance. The Mortmain recalls Rowling's "portkey" concept-a magical artifact, hiding in plain sight as an everyday object, which may feel a bit derivative to some readers. But the ultimate discovery of that object and its keeper ties the book's ending to its beginning in satisfying fashion. McNamee's setting is certainly unique, and readers who relish the brain-teasing nature of time-travel stories will also relish this book and its planned sequels. Ages 9-12. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
April 21, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Navigator by Eoin Mcnamee
1 There was something different about the afternoon. It seemed dark although there wasn’t much cloud. It seemed cold although the sun shone. And the alder trees along the river stirred and shivered although the wind did not seem to blow. Owen came over the three fields and crossed the river just below the Workhouse on an old beech tree that had fallen several years before, climbing from branch to branch with his eyes almost closed, trying not to look down, even though he knew the river was narrow and sluggish at that point and that there were many trailing branches to cling to if he fell. Only when he reached the other side did he dare to look down, and even then the black, unreflecting surface seemed to be beckoning to him so that he turned away with a shudder. He had woken early that morning. It was Saturday and he had tried to get back to sleep, but that hadn’t worked, so he had got up and got dressed. Before his mother could wake, Owen had slipped out of the house and down to Mary White’s shop. Mary had run the shop for many years. It was small and packed with goods and very cozy, with good cooking smells coming from the kitchen behind. Mary, who was a shrewd but kindly woman, had smiled at Owen when he came in. Before he had even asked, she handed him a packet of bacon, milk, and half a dozen eggs. He had no money, but then he never had. Mary used to write down what he got in a little book, but now she didn’t even bother with that. As always, she could see his embarrassment. “Stop looking so worried,” she had said. “You’ll pay it back someday. Besides, you have to be fed, for all our sakes.” She often said mysterious things like that, telling him that it was a pleasure and a privilege to look after him. Owen didn’t know what she meant, for no one else seemed to think that way. Sometimes, when he walked through the little town at the bottom of the hill, you would think he had a bad smell the way people shied away from him and whispered behind their hands. It was the same in school. Sometimes it seemed the only reason that anybody ever talked to him was in order to start a fight. He knew that he had no father, and that his clothes were older and more worn than those of the other boys and girls at the school, but something seemed to run deeper than that. “It’s not that they don’t like you,” Mary had said, in her curious way. “They see something in you that both frightens them and attracts them as well. People don’t like things that they don’t understand.” When Owen got back to the house, he cooked the bacon and eggs and took them up to his mother. She woke and smiled sleepily at him, as if awakened from a pleasant dream, then looked around her and frowned, as if bad old memories had come flooding back. He handed her the tray and she took it without thanking him, a vague, worried look on her face. She was like that most of the time now. Then there was the photograph. It had been taken shortly after Owen had been born. His father was holding him in the crook of one arm, his other arm around Owen’s mother. He was dark-haired and strong and smiling. His mother was smiling as well. Even the baby was smiling. The sun shone on their faces and all was well with the world. After his father’s death, Owen’s mother had taken to carrying the photograph everywhere, looking at it so often that the edges had become frayed. As a reminder of happier times, he supposed. Then one day he noticed that she hadn’t looked at it. “Where is it?” he had asked gently. “Where is the photograph?” She looked up at him. “I lost it,” she’d said, and her eyes were full of misery. “I put it down somewhere and I