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Children's LiteratureWhen Langston Davis's best friend, Neely, is shot by a member of his own gang, Langston feels he should somehow have been able to prevent Neely's death. His deep interest in astronomy and his teacher's amazing home telescope that allows her to send holograms of people into space on a beam of laser light gives him the idea of going back to the thirteenth century to stop Roger Bacon from making gunpowder for use in firearms. Mrs. Centauri tells him he cannot change history, but she has also told him all about the time travel process. When she is away from home, he beams himself back to 1278 as a sentient holograph, leaving his physical and still-functioning body behind. In England, he meets a young Cockney pickpocket, an Orthodox Jewish milkman, and a pretty black slave girl, all of whom help him to find Bacon in Oxford. Although Langston finds very imaginative ways to try to convince the Franciscan scholar to destroy the notes on his experiments, his efforts ultimately fail. Langston's character and motivation are believable and many of the other characters are both funny and appealing. The deliberate distortions of language and the details of Bacon's life could leave readers with very inaccurate impressions. The Cockney language the pickpocket speaks, for instance, appeared centuries later, and Bacon was not a priest. An author's note at the end discusses reasons for linguistic and biographical inaccuracies. It also gives more information about Bacon's life and scientific experiments as well as information about gun violence in America. 2005, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Children's, Ages 12 up.