The Architect’s Apprentice by Colin Garrow, e-book, 124 pages, published in 2015.
Young Tom has been forced to work for the unscrupulous Mr Savidge in London in 1630. He has been working hard to help support his mother and sister since his father disappeared in mysterious circumstances. Mr Savidge has Tom do many jobs for him, which sometimes includes Tom helping him to steal from houses late at night. On one such trip, Tom discovers a book that has the wrong printing date, it is a date in the future, so it must be a mistake, right? When the owner of the book, the architect Martin Deacon approaches Tom, explaining that the date is in fact correct, Tom’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.
A complex time slip novel, The Architect’s Apprentice was engaging and intriguing. I tumbled into this fantasy adventure, with its historical London setting, working class English and description that had me wandering the crowded lanes, avoiding excrement and detritus whilst being intoxicated by the cloying odour of the Thames. It was on occassion, a little confusing, with many characters, but I felt satisfied that everything made sense in the end. There were also several surprises that I didn’t see coming!
Time travel stories are always complex due to the nature of moving through time and the possibility of changing the future or the past. This book is no exception. I love that the time breaks are in doorways, and that they exist all over London, yet few people realise it. I also liked that the characters traveled through time, yet never encountered other versions of themselves.
The children, Tom, Sarah and Emily were delightful characters, bright and inquisitive. Though they are of a station that requires them to work at such a young age to survive, they were neither down-trodden nor broken. I enjoyed seeing the way Tom and Sarah bonded with Emily through the story. Emily is rather precocious, yet it fits her superbly. Whilst the children were obviously good, it took a little longer to work out the roles of the adults. I was quite suspicious of Deacon when he first approached Tom, but as I got to know him better, I liked him. For the most part, the adults had a lot to hide, and I was often undecided as to which adult the children should trust, but that mysteriousness only added to the intrigue of the story.
While the book contains some violence, I think it would still be suitable for upper primary school students and high school students. I really enjoyed The Architect’s Apprentice, and I definitely want to read the next book in The Maps of Time series, Mortlake. There was a short preview of Mortlake at the back of the book, which served to strengthen my desire to read it.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.