Greg Rich’s family isn’t anymore—rich, that is. After squandering a fortune, the ninth-grader and his family travel to Paris to sell heirlooms despite Grandpa Gus’s warning that their treasures—including half a black crystal Mrs. Rich wears on a chain—must never return to France. Sure enough, an evil Louvre employee tries to wrench the necklace away, and in the tussle, the whole clan falls into a portrait in the museum’s throne room, landing in 1615, during the reign of Louis XIII. Greg’s parents are imprisoned, but he escapes and is befriended by Aramis, a cleric at Notre Dame. They recruit teenagers Porthos and Athos to rescue Greg’s parents. Gibbs (Belly Up) weaves quite a bit of French history into his action-packed tale. The skills Greg learned at his tony private school come in handy, and his ability to swim (unheard of!), rock-climb, and use Hollywood action film tricks impress the future musketeers. Gibbs’s screenwriting background is evident in the story’s cinematic plotting and prose, and the ending makes it clear that at least one sequel is in the works. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
“Gibbs’ playful, action-packed twist on the classic novel includes plenty of humor as Greg attempts to fit into medieval life. An entertaining premise and high adventure.”
Children's Literature - Rosa Roberts
Time travel is every young reader's dream. How about traveling to 17th century France and meeting the young three musketeers? In this middle reader, the main character, Greg Rich, by happenstance is embroiled in this mystery, adventure, and historical fiction journey. It all begins when his parents decide to sell some of their family heirlooms to Michel Dinocouer. On their arrival to the City of Light, both of Greg's parents disappear. Not only have they vanished but have traveled back in time. What steps will Greg undertake to become the hero and sleuth? What role do the young three musketeers play in Greg's genealogical line? Greg becomes the young musketeer D'Artagnan in this story. Young readers will be engrossed in unraveling how he becomes a time traveler, detective, and the hero in this time travel adventure. A sequel is already in print for this book. This read will not disappoint those looking for adventure. The book is an asset to any library collection. Reviewer: Rosa Roberts
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Gibbs reimagines Alexandre Dumas's Three Musketeers with a liberal dose of fantasy. Fourteen-year-old Greg is in present-day Paris with his parents to sell family heirlooms to the Louvre. When his mother refuses to part with a cherished stone pendant, the manager grabs it and uses it to transport himself and Greg's unwilling family back to 1615 through a painting. The past proves dangerous as Greg's parents are quickly arrested and he becomes a fugitive. His plan to rescue his mom and dad requires the help of three new friends (yes, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis), who dub Greg "D'Artagnan." The four must defeat the evil Richelieu, who has a mysterious connection to the modern-day Louvre manager. Gibbs deftly packs an abundance of historical detail into a lively narrative that captures the swashbuckling spirit of Dumas's original. Full of jovial humor, narrow escapes, sorcery, and intrigue, the novel will likely generate interest in the classic. Greg is a well-defined hero: each challenge he faces helps him recognize his own abilities and find acceptance among the friends whom he admires. Although the characters' speech is often too contemporary, their accessible language and vocabulary make this novel a good choice for older reluctant readers. The cliff-hanger ending leaves all characters in the past, with the new Musketeers off on their next adventure, "sheathing their swords and running for their horses." Readers will want to join them.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
From the gripping first sentence—"Clinging to the prison wall, Greg Rich realized how much he hated time travel"—the excitement never flags in this newly imagined Musketeer adventure.
Greg is none too pleased to be in Paris with his folks as they sell off family heirlooms. Among their belongings is a magical crystal that, when nabbed by a villainous thief, whisks them into the distant past. Suddenly in 17th-century Paris, Greg's parents are imprisoned in the La Mort Triste and sentenced to die. Greg has only a few days to save them. He elicits the help of three teenage boys: Aramis, Porthos and Athos, each keen for the adventure. As the boys wend their way through the fetid streets of medieval Paris with the king's guards always on their heels, they endure death-defying battles and swordfights on horseback, chandeliers and ledges. With the past and the present entwining in dizzying tangles of who's who and what's what, Gibbs weaves in historical facts about Paris as well as atmospheric tidbits about rats, bed bugs and the lack of toilets and pockets in pants. Greg, now referred to as D'Artagnon, eventually deduces his role in this group, but it's going to take more than wishful thinking to get him and his parents back home—or is Paris home?
Using Alexandre Dumas' stories as a jumping-off point, Gibbs mixes fact, fantasy and thrills to create a galloping swashbuckler. (Adventure. 8-12)