Nick of Time (Nick McIver Series #1)

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Here at a last is a new novel in the great tradition of grand adventure tales, the likes of which have seldom been seen since the works of Robert Louis Stevenson. This epic adventure is the story Nick McIver, a lad who sets out to become ‘the hero of his own life'. The setting is England, 1939, on the eve of war. Nick and his sister Kate live in a lighthouse on the smallest of the Channel Islands. Nick, Kate and their father are engaged in a desperate war of espionage with the German U-boat fleets that are ...
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Nick of Time (Nick McIver Series #1)

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Here at a last is a new novel in the great tradition of grand adventure tales, the likes of which have seldom been seen since the works of Robert Louis Stevenson. This epic adventure is the story Nick McIver, a lad who sets out to become ‘the hero of his own life'. The setting is England, 1939, on the eve of war. Nick and his sister Kate live in a lighthouse on the smallest of the Channel Islands. Nick, Kate and their father are engaged in a desperate war of espionage with the German U-boat fleets that are circling the islands prior to invasion. The information they provide daily to Winston Churchill is vital as he tries to warn England of the imminent Nazi invasion. In a surprising twist, Nick discovers an old seachest sent to him by his ancestor, Captain Nicholas McIver of the Royal Navy. Nick returns to the year 1805 via a time machine and help save Captain McIver and, indeed, Admiral Nelson's entire fleet from the treachery of the French and the mutinous Captain Billy Blood. In the climactic sea battle with Captain Blood, Nick's love of the sea, and his feats of derring-do, indisputably prove his courage and heroism. His sister Kate, meanwhile, has enlisted the aid of two of England's most brilliant detectives, Lord Hawke, and Commander Hobbes, to thwart the Nazis. They prove themselves more than a match for England's underwater enemies, when they discover the existence of Germany's super-secret experimental submarine. In the end, Nick and Kate prove themselves heroes in the eyes of two of England's greatest warriors: Admiral Nelson and Winston Churchill.

Author Biography: Theodore Bell is the Vice Chairman and Worldwide Creative Director of Young & Rubicam, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. Over the course of his career, his writing has won every top creative prize the industry bestows, including Clios, One Show Gold Awards, and a number of Bronze, Silver, and Gold Lions at the prestigious Cannes Festival. Bell has authored a number of screenplays, one of which was optioned in Hollywood. Nick of Time is Mr. Bell's first novel. He is currently hard at work on his second novel.

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Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times
People who devoured Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series can rejoice this summer at the possibility of sharing the passion for the British Royal Navy with their offspring... There is an undeniable attraction for boys to the figure of the heroic Englishman (though Nick's spunky younger sister will seem to girls the true hero of the novel), and Nick's mantra in times of stress -- "Nelson the strong, Nelson the brave, Nelson, the lord of the sea" -- gets him through the most grueling of moments, when a boy might otherwise give up. The descriptions of the sea battles here are definitely not for the faint of heart.
—Sonja Bolle
KLIATT - Cara Chancellor
The two men appeared seemingly out of thin air, miraculously dry despite the storm howling outside the inn. For Nick McIver, though, this mystery is just one of many. In the past week, he has accidentally uncovered a notebook revealing his father is spying on the Nazis for Winston Churchill, witnessed a secret Luftwaffe flight over his own Greybeard Island, England, and then found a 150-year-old Royal Navy sea chest that somehow looks brand new. When it becomes apparent that the two strangers are willing to secure the chest's contents—a time machine created by Leonardo da Vinci—by any means necessary, Nick is forced to choose strange allies and travel back in time to an 18th-century naval battle in order to save his family, his country, and himself. While Bell's narrative never lacks for excitement, the reader will sometimes feel as though the sum of this story's parts is simply that: parts of other stories that have been packed into a full-length novel. However, for younger readers for whom cannonballs and top-secret German submarines trump occasional plot bobbles—such as Nick's ancestor sending a letter from the past after giving up the time machine—this book will become an instant adventure classic. Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
Children's Literature - Keri Collins Lewis
The son of a lighthouse keeper, Nick McIver is one of a long line of McIvers who have navigated Greybeard Island's rocky reefs, from Gravestone Rock to the treacherous Seven Devils. When a mysterious sea chest washes ashore one day while Nick, his trusty dog Jip, and his little sister Katie are out exploring, a series of adventures begins, for locked inside the chest is the Tempus Machina, one of a pair invented by Leonardo Da Vinci. The small golden orbs can transport people through time and space, but unfortunately, the other time machine is in the hands of Captain William Blood, a ruthless pirate who has wandered the globe for centuries snatching children away from their parents and demanding ransom. When Blood arrives on Greybeard Island seeking the second Tempus Machina, Nick must brave the fortress of Castle Hawke to obtain the help of a reclusive nobleman who has his own score to settle with the pirate—rescuing the two kidnapped Hawke children. Set in 1939 in the outer islands of pre-war England, the bulk of the book's chapters alternate between Katie's collision with Nazis patrolling British waters in a highly sophisticated submarine, and 1805, where Nick and Lord Hawke help Nick's great-grandfather battle Captain Blood and aid Nick's hero, Admiral Lord Nelson, by warning him of a Spanish plot to trap his fleet. Author Ted Bell, well-published in the adult fiction market, includes vast amounts of historical and nautical detail, which add realism to the highly imaginative and action-filled tale. The story's primary weakness is the constantly shifting points of view, which too often puts the reader in the minds of adults. In the end, it is not Nick and Katie who trulyvanquish the enemies and have the final word, but the larger cast of grown-ups who populate the story. Reviewer: Keri Collins Lewis
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9- This is an immensely appealing book about 12-year-old Nick McIver, son of a lighthouse owner, who lives on Greybeard Island off the coast of Great Britain in 1939. Opening with a thrilling near-fatal sailboat excursion, the action kicks into high gear when Nick finds a sea chest containing a mysterious glowing globe. Hunted by pirates from the past who seek the globe, a time-travel device, Nick finds himself bouncing back and forth in time fighting exceedingly nasty pirates, Napoleon's naval forces in 1805, and Nazi spies in 1939. Nick is the pluckiest, most likable boy-hero since Robert Lewis Stevenson's David Balfour (Kidnapped ). With great battle scenes; lots of nautical jargon; and themes of courage, integrity, and honor, this book will appeal to restless boys who can never find books written just for them. Three huzzahs and a great big 21-gun salute to Bell for his first novel for kids. Hopefully, it won't be his last.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Kirkus Reviews
The author of several Ian Fleming-style thrillers for adults reworks his lengthy self-published 2000 debut into a windy, labored and even longer doorstopper. On the eve of World War II, 12-year-old Nick receives an appeal for help from a Napoleonic-era ancestor about to get blown out of the water while trying to get vital information to Lord Nelson. The desperate message comes with a portable time machine, so off Nick hies to 1805, leaving his six-year-old sister paired with a hypercompetent inventor/British Intelligence Officer to capture an experimental Nazi supersubmarine. Linking the twin plotlines is Billy Blood, a vicious pirate with another time machine and a penchant for holding wealthy children from various eras for ransom-aboard, conveniently, the very French warship that is attacking Nick's ancestor. Needless to say, after extended sea battles Blood is foiled (but not killed, so look for sequels), the children rescued, the sub captured and the dispatches delivered, all amid many gaps in logic and massive contrivances. Bell should have left this one in his sea chest. (Fantasy. 11-13)First Printing of 100,000
From the Publisher

"A brilliant adventure, hidden within a rolling saga, tucked inside an intriguing mystery. That's Nick of Time. Ted Bell proves that he's the master of swashbuckling for both young and old."

"Wow! Some books sweep you away. NICK OF TIME amazed me, dazzled me, and swept my imagination off to sea.... I've been craving an adventure story with a good mystery and this arrived in the nick of time to rescue me."

Nick of Time reminded me of Brian Jacques, one of my favorite authors. Everything clicks together perfectly. . . . I really like the era and technology of WWII, especially the 'secret weapons' . . . the whole pirate thing really appeals to me. . . . The time travel idea is cool, and what's even better is that da Vinci created it!

"In a barnburner of an adventure novel (originally published in 2000), Bell, with more than a nod to Frank and Joe Hardy and Tom Swift, takes readers back to 1939, when villains were truly evil and heroic lads were willing to risk all for king and country... We've got chapter cliffhangers, machines and weapons galore, sailing, spying, and pure adventure. Ahoy! Summer reading ahead!" -Horn Book Magazine

"Nick of Time mixes a sense of honor with a story your son will not be able to put down. I know it's for teenagers but I read it cover to cover and it is FANTASTIC. I can't wait for my son to read it…Thank you for writing something where boys can be boys….really a tremendous book…it's about values and virtues and spirit of adventure and sticking up for your little sister….." -Glenn Beck from the Glenn Beck Show

LA TIMES Sonja Bolle

People who devoured Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series can rejoice this summer at the possibility of sharing the passion for the British Royal Navy with their offspring... There is an undeniable attraction for boys to the figure of the heroic Englishman (though Nick's spunky younger sister will seem to girls the true hero of the novel), and Nick's mantra in times of stress -- "Nelson the strong, Nelson the brave, Nelson, the lord of the sea" -- gets him through the most grueling of moments, when a boy might otherwise give up. The descriptions of the sea battles here are definitely not for the faint of heart.

"Nick of Time is one heck of an adventure! Filled with colorful characters, non-stop action, scary pirates, nasty Nazis, technically advanced submarines, rousing old-time sailing ships, thrilling battle scenes, heart-pounding sea voyages and nail-biting espionage, this story has it all... If you are looking for a thrill and a new hero, this is it."
June 2008 Voice of Youth Advocates

This old-fashioned adventure adds a new twist to elements of Treasure Island, Horatio Hornblower, and Indiana Jones … Every middle school boy (and many girls, too) will relish joining Nick on his heroic adventures. Charming and thrilling, this book could become a classic with its good, clean, swashbuckling fun.
15-YALSA Award Committee Member Megan

Pirates, the ocean, time travel, and even a bit of history! How could you not want to read it? The book kept me wanting more… I would greatly suggest this book for those that love a bit of time travel and pirates!
Judy Hobbs

I just got back from vacation and NICK OF TIME was on top of my pile. I loved it! It was truly a combination of all the great adventure books that I've read. I know that it will be a great sell to boys, but there will be an awful lot of girls (like me!) who will not be able to put it down. Can't wait for a sequel.
Children's Specialist Anitra T. Steele

Nick is the old-fashioned kind of hero, adept at all those skills taught in the Dangerous Book for Boys, while being worried about causing his mother concern. This book is sure to captivate those seeking a crackling good adventure story and would be a great family read-aloud too.
12 Grant

I loved NICK OF TIME!... The time travel was very cool, especially how the author tied it to historical events (which love to read about). I had a hard time putting the book down, even when I had homework. I read at breakfast, and tried to read at dinner, but my mom made me stop... Awesome book, can't wait for the sequel!
14 Whit

It's hard to explain how much I loved this book. If you can read, read this book! If you can't read, have someone read it to you!... I love Harry Potter but this book makes Harry Potter seem like a tale that isn't very exciting... I do have one request though: make a sequel! It would be awesome to see another adventure of Nick and his friends and family! Blood can't just wander around time forever! I want to read about Blood getting what he deserves.
14 Brian

It was almost impossible to put the book down…and I am anxiously awaiting Ted Bell's second novel.
14 Zakory

I was always itching for what's next…
12 David

In my lifetime, I have had three books that I have never wanted to end... but the best of all is NICK OF TIME. I have to say that "Nick of Time" was a thrilling, never ceasing, ever changing, three-hundred-and-seventy-five pages of sheer, unrelenting wonderment and enjoyment that I will never forget... The best book I have ever read.
15 Jason

As soon as I picked up NICK OF TIME, it kept me on my toes until the very end. I couldn't put it down!... It was a true adventure novel with a little twist... He was a very realistic character and I found a lot to look up to in the courage and energy he brought to situations.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738838175
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Series: Nick McIver Series, #1
  • Pages: 384
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Bell is the New York Times bestselling author of Nick of Time and The Time Pirate, as well as the bestselling Alexander Hawke series. For many years he was a leading talent in advertising, and won numerous Clios and Cannes Gold Lions and the Cannes Grand Prix. He began his advertising career as a copy-writer at Doyle Dane Bernbach in the 1970s. In 1991, he joined Young&Rubicam, one of the world's largest advertising agencies, as Vice-Chairman of the board and World-Wide Creative Director. Bell retired from advertising in 2001 to write full-time. He lives in Florida and Colorado.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter II * 3 June 1939 *
"That boy," Emily McIver said to herself, "is the most unreliable boy in all of England!"
"Where is that child?" she added, half aloud, for at least the tenth time since he'd missed his supper. "Honestly!"
Worriedly brushing s tray wisp of honey-colored hair back from her brow, she pressed her nose once more against the steamy kitchen window. Masses of purple clouds had been gathering in the west for the last hour and now heavy drops of rain were spattering hard against the glass. First real storms of the summer, she thought, plunging her hands into the hot soapy water, pulling out another supper plate. It looked a blow and of course her son was right out there in the think of it, as usual. Missed his supper again. Soaked to the skin. Chilled to the bone in the bargain.
Emily tried to push her rising worried over her only son down to a place where she could control them. Only a little wind, wasn't it? He'd certainly come through worse, hadn't he? Had his oilskins on, hadn't he? Oh my, look at that lightning! Heat lightning. Summer lightning.
Summer had come at last to this smallest of four little islands stuck out in the English Channel. Although they were English isles, fiercely held for many centuries, they lay very close to the coast of France. The names of many streets and villages were still French, but the islanders were loyal only to England. Greybeard Island, the smallest, was famous for having more cows than people. And the fact that there was not a single car. The few people who lived here were hardy seagoing folk, now mostly farmers and fishermen. True, nothing much ever happened here. Still Emily thought it the loveliest place; the rocky coasts, the rolling pastures, and now, of course, the glorious roses. Emily had joyously announced summer's arrival in her journal that very morning: After an icy winter and a cold, wet, spring, the sun has suddenly rained warmth down on our little green island. The summer of 1939 is here at last! Every lane has a leafy green roof vaulting overhead, every field is carpeted with buttercups and periwinkles, and in every orchard clouds of white petals float to earth, then swirl in eddies beneath the boughs, and drift up against the gnarled and twisted trunks of the trees like snowdrifts. Roses, too, climb once more to the rooftops of the little stone cottages scattered hither and thither across our tiny island, as if some giant has just flung out handfuls of them and then, overnight, picket fences and flowerbushes spring up just to bind them to earth!
Even this old lighthouse, she realized with a shudder of pleasure, home to the McIver family for generations, was once more wreathed in great spirals of heavy roses. The "Tower Roses" they were called, and featured on the cover on the island guidebook, weren't they? Emily cracked the kitchen window a bit to inhale the blossoms' sweet perfume, the scent of rain and roses wafting in on the wet air.
Emily leaned forward again, peering intently through the darkened kitchen window. She saw only veils of rain along the empty path leading down to the harbor. Where is that boy? She wondering for the hundredth time. But she knew well enough where her boy was.
Well, at least little Kate isn't out there with him, Emily thought with some relief. No, her daughter was snug and safe up in her warm bed, recovering from a nasty bout of measles. Otherwise, sure as daylight, she would have been out there tossing about on that boast. Her husband Angus, however, was out in this dreadful storm tonight on a silly errand to-A sudden noise behind Emily almost made her jump out of her slippers, and she dropped a supper dish with a terrific splash into the soap water.
"Goodness!" she cried, spinning to see her kitchen door fly open. Two dervishes, whirling in on a gust of wet wind, one a twelve-year-old boy, one a loudly barking black retriever hard on the boy's heels. "Two demons out of the night and what a start you've given me!" she cried, vainly trying to brush the soapy water from her apron.
"Close that door! Can't you see there's rain blowing in!" Inside she breathed an enormous sigh of relief at the sight of her boy safely home.
"Only me and Jipper, Mum!" said Nick, leaning all of his weight against the heavy oak door. "Not late, are we? See, we got caught in this bit of a blow and we-Jip! No, boy, don't!" Nick cried, but it was too late.
Nick, who knew he had trouble enough already, watched his big black dog walk over to where his mother stood and violently shake every drop of water from his body in her direction, a shaggy, four-legged rainstorm.
"Why, thank you, Jip!" Emily said, brushing this fresh deluge from her apron. "Lovely! I'm glad to see you haven't forgotten your manners, either! They're just as terrible as they've always been! Just look at this mess, will you, Nick!" "Just being friendly, Mum, isn't he? Happy to be home?" He tried a smile but couldn't quite get it right. "That means he's glad to see you. He's sort of waving at you, see, in dog language?"
Emily McIver put both hands on her hips and bent from the waist, scowling at her boy, now standing in the puddle of rainwater he had created in her kitchen. "Nicholas McIver! Don't think you can charm your way out of this one, boy! Third night this week you've missed supper! And look at you!" she said, shaking her finger in his direction. "And look at my sorry floor as well, will you?"
Nick dutifully looked at himself, his mother's apron, and the puddle, and had to nod in mute agreement. His shoes were squishing water, and his normally curly blond hair was plastered to his skull. He was late again, he'd made a sopping mess of the kitchen, and the chances of a nice hot meal were decidedly slim. He was ravenous. He was entirely ravenous after a hard day on the water.
The remains of a beautiful roast joint of beef caught his eye.
"Sorry I'm late, Mum." he said, picking up the heavy pewter platter that held the roast. "Why don't you turn in, and I'll just stow all these messy supper dishes for you? Least I can do, really, isn't it?"
Emily took the platter right out of his hands. "Good effort, Nicky. Shameless, but good all the same. Supper in this house is exactly half past two hours ago, I'll remind you! This roast is bound straight for the strew pot. Take a turnip and a carrot or two if you like and then to bed with you."
She held out a bowl of freshly peeled vegetable and Nick stuffed his pockets to dispose f them later. He hated carrots only slightly less than turnips. Maybe Jip would eat the stuff. At least they wouldn't both go hungry.
"This time it wasn't my fault, Mother," he said, unable to take his eyes off the pungent roast beef. "There was a terrible blow, you see, and Jip and I-I apologize. We both do."
"Truly. Well, you and Jip can do your all of your apologizing to each other. Up in your room and it's lights out for the both of you," Emily said, spinning him around by his shoulders and marching him toward the stairway. "Along with you!" Jip, you as well!"
Nick paused at the foot of the stairs. "May I ask you one serious question first, Mum?" he asked, his heart suddenly catching in his throat. "Would you say I'm a boy who frightens easily?"
"A boy too clover and too brave for his own good, I might agree with," Emily said. She turned to look at her son over her shoulder. "But then, I'm only your mother. What does a mother know? Do her feet hurt from standing? Do her roses have aphids? Does her heart ache with worry every time her little boy is out in a terrible storm?"
"I am sorry, Mother. Really I am," Nick said. "It was scary, though, out in that blow."
"Tell your mother, Nicholas. Why you're always so afraid of being frightened? It is the most natural feeling a boy can have."
Nick cast his eyes at the rain-streaked kitchen window, struggling to keep his emotions in check.
"Because I think a boy is not supposed to be afraid! The boys I read about in books are never afraid of anything! But I was afraid, out there today, twice! Twice in one day! Why, I guess I'm nothing more than a measly, sniveling old c-coward!" He sat on the bottom step and swiped away a tear.
"You're not a boy in a book, son, you're just a normal boy. And, being afraid, that's only normal for-" "I tried, you know! Oh, I tried all right. But I just couldn't get Petrel to windward of the Gravestone, and I-" Nick paused, as the memory of that terrible moment came flooding back. "I-I knew our only chance was to try and ride the storm surge in over the reefs, you see, and just then a huge wave hit us broadside, knocked us right over on our beam ends and I thought that Jipper, I thought poor Jip had been-" Nick felt hot salty tears welling up and quickly looked down at his dog. If he ever truly wanted to be a hero, it clearly wouldn't do to have his own dog and his mother see him going all leaky over a few big waves.
"Come here, Nicky," Emily said. Nick rose unsteadily and went to her, grateful to feel his cheek against her starchy, sweet-smelling blouse, a safe place where no one could see the tears of utter relief at still being alive flowing down his cheeks. How he'd longed for the safety of these same arms when the giant rock was looming. "And, what was the second frightening thing, son?" she asked, gently patting the top of his sodden head. She felt the boy finally stop trembling and held him to her. "Besides the terrible storm?" "Oh. W-well, that one wasn't so bad, Mother, he said, finally calming down. "It was about noon, I guess. Jipper and I were tacking north around Hawke Point. And then the sky suddenly got all black and thundery, you see, and we thought it was a storm coming. But it wasn't, not yet anyway. No, it was masses and masses of heavy aeroplanes! Bombers! They flew directly over the Petrel's masthead! They were quite low, Mother, it was deafening, really, and Jip and I ran up on the bow to shout hurrah and wave to our boys, but, you see, they weren't our boys, Mother. They all had big swastikas painted on their fuselages and wings-they were German!"
"German! They didn't drop any bombs on you and Jip, did they, darling?" Emily asked with a smile. "That would be frightening."
"No, they didn't drop any bombs," Nick said, smiling back at her. "And we waved at them anyway, see, and a few even waggled their wings back at us, as if we were friends. That scared me the most."
"I think you're a very brave boy, Nicholas McIver," Emily said, giving him a brief peck on the top of his head. "But brave boys don't get to be brave men unless they're a bit clever, too. Be clever enough to be afraid when you need to be, won't you, Nick? Now, along with you. To bed."
"Is there really going to be a war, Mum?" Nick asked, reluctant to leave her side. "With the Nazis? The Germans, I mean?"
"We've all had quite enough of war for one century, thank you. There shan't be another."
"But, Father says-" "Nick, listen to me," she said, holding him away from her and looking into his eyes. "Some people, your father for one, believe what Mr. Churchill says. That war with Germany is unavoidable. I choose to believe what our prime minister, Mr. Chamberlain, says. My brother, Godfrey, as you well know, spends his every waking hour by the prime minister's side at Number Ten Downing. He sees all but the most top-secret documents and he's convinced the Nazis have no interest in war with England. I've always believed your uncle and I believe him now. Isn't that simple? Now. To bed, and no delay!"
Nick looked at his mother. He prayed that it was as simple, as black and white as she portrayed it. His uncle Godfrey, as secretary to the PM, would certainly know, wouldn't he? "Mother, I'm sure you're right. But may I at least tell Father about-" "Your father's not here, dear," Emily said, putting the last dried dish on the shelf. "He had an emergency meeting of his beloved Birdwatcher's Society." She chuckled at the notion of an emergency of any kind here on peaceful little Greybeard Island. What possible emergency could drive a flock of birdwatchers out on a night like this? Birdwatchers, indeed, Emily thought.
"Oh, Nicky, before you tuck in, bring Mummy's spectacles down, won't you? I left them up in your father's study, on his desk, I believe. And stop poking your great-grandfather's belly, Nicholas, you'll just make him worse!"
At the foot of the curving staircase, that led to the very top of the lighthouse, hung a portrait of a McIver ancestor that Nick greatly admired. The long dead admiral over the hearth had a jagged hole in the center of his great belly and Nick loved to stand on tiptoe and jab his fist through the old man's stomach. No one was quite sure how the gaping hole had come to be there, but everyone had their story about the admiral with the hold in his belly. Surely there was some grand adventure behind the painting and Nick loved to stick his fist through his ancestor's perforated paunch every time he bounded upstairs.
"Sorry, mum," he said, giving the old admiral one last jab to the midsection. "Dad's birdwatching again? Imagine watching birds on a night like this anyway!" Nick said over his shoulder, and bounded up the stairs, now much comforted by his mother.
Yes, just imagine, Emily chuckled to herself. "Birdwatcher's, ha!" she said half aloud and collapsed into the well-worn overstuffed chair that sat next to the kitchen hearth. It had been a long, tiring day. She looked forward to falling asleep by the softly cracking kitchen fire with her needlepoint on her lap. Angus would wake her upon returning from his "birdwatching."
It was, after all, the silliest thing. It was a good thing she loved her husband so dearly, or she'd never have been able to forgive his newest passion. The "Birdwatcher's Society!" Climbing all over the island with their little telescopes and their fat black binoculars. Mud smeared on their faces and bit of leaves and branches stuck in their headgear. And always staring out to sea, they were. Waiting for the Nazis to come. As if the Nazis cared on whit for three or four little English islands tuck in the Channel! Closer to France than England and inhabited mainly by cows! Imagine, she thought, chuckling to herself. All hail Adolf Hitler, King of the Channel Isles, Chancellor of Cows.
"Nicholas?" Emily cried, still chuckling to herself and kicking an errant little ember back onto the hearthstone. She turned and shouted up the empty stairwell. "Will you please bring me those glasses? You know I can't do a stitch without them!" There was no answer. Where is that boy? She wondered, for what seemed like the thousandth time that day.
Upon entering his father's study at the very top of the stairs, just below the ladder up to the great light itself, the first thing Nick had noticed was his father's old leather flying jacket. It was hanging on the back of his chair. Slipping into the timeworn garment, which he greatly coveted, he collapsed into his father's desk chair, running his hands over the silver wings pinned to the jacket breast. A hero's jacket, Nick thought, looking down at the bright wings. His father had been wearing it the day his Sopwith had been shot down, crashing n flames in the Ardennes Forest. Angus McIver had escaped from the burning plane, but had lost the use of his right leg doing it. He'd never flown again after that terrible day and even now, twenty years later, he could only walk with the use of a stout cane.
But he'd returned from the Great War to a hero's welcome on little Greybeard Island, hadn't he, Nick thought. Oh, yes. No doubt about it. A true hero, whatever that was. All Nick knew was that he wanted to be one in the worst way possible, he thought, picking up his father's old brier pipe and clenching it between his teeth just the way his father did. Did he have the stuff it took to be a hero, he wondered, chomping on the pipe stem? Was he brave enough? Strong enough? Smart enough? Well, why trouble yourself, he guessed. He'd probably never get the chance to find out, living on a little island stuck smack in the middle of nowhere. His own father had taken to watching birds, for goodness sake. That's how starved he was for excitement.
Now, what was his mission? Oh, yes! Mother's reading glasses. Where were they? He felt around, pushing the little piles of books and paper to and fro. He plunged his hand into a little alcove in the center of the desk, full of old pens and pencils. Perhaps she'd put them-Hold on!-his fingertips had brushed something cold protruding from the very back of the alcove. It felt like, it was, a button, and not just any old button, either. A secret button! Naturally, he had to push it.
With a mechanical click and a soft whirring noise, a drawer abruptly appeared just above the little alcove. Just slid straight out, it did, like an unexpected invitation. It was quite the most amazing thing, and no mistaking it, to be suddenly confronted with what was plainly a secret drawer. His natural curiosity immediately go the better of him and he stood up and peered inside.
Lying at the bottom of the drawer was an old logbook that someone obviously wasn't meant to see. It was a faded red leather binder with the words MIGRATORY BIRDS stamped in gold on its cover. Well, mystery solved, Nick said to himself. It had something to do with his father's Birdwatcher's Society. He carefully lifted the heavy binder from the drawer and examined it closely. It was curious, he thought, because although is father had loved flying, he had never given a fig for birds, at least until recently.
Feeling the slightest twinge of guilt, Nick opened the thick volume and began thumbing through its yellowed pages. And it was immediately apparent that, indeed, his father was no secret bird fancier. As he rapidly skimmed the book, he saw that every day his father was carefully noting the daily comings and goings, the "migrations," of every single German vessel moving through the Channel! The "migratory birds" were nothing less than the great German liners, merchant vessels and warships steaming out of Hamburg and the Rhine and migrating across the Channel! His eye falling to the bottom of the page, he saw this startling notation in his father's hand.
Documentation delivered: First March 39, 0900 hrs, believed Alpha Class U-boat sighting vicinity Greybeard Island bearing 230 degrees, west, increased activity all sectors day and night. Thor acknowledge and forward W.S.C.
Thor? The beautiful power launch he'd seen slipping in and out of the harbor these last few weeks? And who, or what, was W.S.C.?
Adding to the deepening mystery, Nick saw that there was another secret or two hidden in the drawer as well. Although he could scarcely credit it, at the back of the drawer there was a nickel-plated Webley & Scott revolver, .45 caliber. Picking it up carefully, Nick noticed that it was loaded. His father owned a gun, a loaded gun? Setting the heavy revolver down gently atop a stack of papers, he took a deep breath and reached into the drawer again. The gun had been lying atop a packet of letters, bound with red ribbon. Nick removed the letters, thinking, "in for a penny, in for a pound." Each envelope had the word "Chartwell" engraved in the upper left-hand corner. Each was addressed to his father, Greybeard Light, Greybeard Island. He dared not open a single one, though he was powerfully tempted.
Chartwell, Nick knew from the newspapers, was the name of the country house in Kent that belonged to Winston Spencer Churchill! Yes, yes, grand old W.S.C. himself! Nick, struggling to contain his excitement, carefully returned everything to the drawer just as he'd found it. First the packet of letters from Churchill. On top of the letters, the loaded pistol. And finally the heavy leather binder. Hold on, had the title been facing him, or away? Away, as he remembered. At the slightest pressure of his fingertips, the secret drawer slid silently shut, locking with a soft click. Staring fixedly at the spot where the drawer had simply disappeared into the desk, he saw his mother's little gold-framed eye-glasses on the shelf just above. He picked them up and placed them absently in his shirtfront pocket.
Breathing hard and feeling slightly dazed, he walked over to stand at one of the many large curved windows that overlooked the channel in every direction. There was a flash of pure white brilliance as the great lighthouse beacon swept around just above him. The storm had by now moved off to the east, over the coastal fields of France. It was still lighting up the sky with crackling electricity, but it was nothing compared to the currents flowing through young Nicholas McIver at that very moment. Maybe he'd been wrong, he thought. Just moments ago he'd been feeling sorry for himself, stuck out here on a rock where nothing every happened. Well, something was happening, that much was sure.
He looked own at the vast black top of the Channel, stretching away now under a moonlit sky. As usual, there was no shortage of the thin white trails, scribbled across the Channel's surface in an eastward direction. But now they seemed to have acquired vast importance. Now he knew what they were. They were German submarines. They were the dreaded U-boats, slipping out of Germany and beneath the waves of his peaceful Channel, perhaps toward England. If his father and W.S.C. were correct, of course.
He shuddered at the little chill of fear, and the sudden sour taste of tobacco in his mouth reminding him that his father's pipe remained clenched between his jaws. His own father, who built sturdy little sailboats that never leaked, and who laughed and told funny stories when he tucked him into his bed every night, was a spy! This man who tended roses on summer days and recited Wordsworth on wintry nights was a spy! One who kept a revolve-a loaded revolved-in a secret drawer and who was by all account engaged in this secret espionage on behalf of the great Winston Churchill himself. His own father! It was the most wonderful thing imaginable. Maybe he could scare up a little adventure on this old island after all! "Mother!" he cried at the top of his lungs and racing down the stairs three at a time, "Mother, I've found your eyeglasses! Isn't that wonderful?"
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Nick of Time
* 3 June 1939 *
"Hard a'lee me boys!" shouted Nick NcIver over the wind, "or be smashed to smithereens in the jaws of Gravestone Rock!"
The dog Jip barked his loud agreement.
Nick, at the helm of his small sloop, Stormy Petrel, that afternoon, was almost at the end of his first day-long voyage around Greybeard Island. He was hard on the wind, making a good seven knots as he tacked homeward. Just now, he was approaching the treacherous reefs that guarded the entrance to Lighthouse Harbor. Jip, on the bow, was howling into the strong headwind, enjoying the pounding sprays of seawater every bit as much as his skipper.
But now Nick was watching the western sky and the rapidly rising seas uneasily. Maybe he should have nipped inside the huge Gravestone Rock, in the lee of this wind. Probably should have known better than to sail the long way home in weather like this. Should have done this, should have done that, he silently cursed himself. He did know better, in fact. But he and Jip had been having such a splendid time, bounding through the waves, he'd simply ignored the storm warnings. A little cold spot in the pit of his stomach was growing. He hated that cold feeling. He'd not even spoken its name.
But it was fear.
The glorious empty bowl of blue that had been the morning sky now featured stacks of boiling cumulus clouds, all gone to darkening greys and blacks. Billowing towers of purple clouds loomed on the western horizon, swiftly turning the colors of an ugly bruise. In the last hour, clouds of spume came scudding across his bow and through the rigging of Stormy Petrel. Above the howl of the elements was the high keening whistle of wind in the sloop's rigging. Slat spray stung Nick's eyes. But he could still see the sky overhead, boiling and black.
Nick leaned hard into the Petrel's tiller, putting the weight of his lean body against it, fighting to keep his bow to windward of Gravestone Rock. He had both hands on the tiller, and they'd gone clammy and cold. Looking up in awe at the giant rock now looming before him, he wiped first one hand, then the other, on his soaking trousers. The Gravestone. A terribly thought shuddered unpleasantly through Nick's mind. Would that famous stone tower today mark still another watery grave? His own, and his beloved Jip's? He cursed himself for his stupidity and leaned into his tiller with all his might. Hopeless. The bow refused to answer the helm, to come up into the wind.
However could he keep his small sloop to the safe, windward side of the massive stone looming ever larger before him? And to the leeward side lay the Seven Devils. On a calm day, Nick might pick his way through these treacherous reefs. But now, in a blow, they were deadly.
He was fresh out of options.
"And you call yourself a sailor, Nick McIver!" he cried aloud. But not even his dog heard his bitter cry of frustration above the roar of wind and water. He should have known better. There was a terrible price to pay for carelessness at sea. Especially when you were anywhere near the Gravestone.
It was a towering monument of glistening black granite that now rose before him. Thrusting from the sea like some angry tombstone, it had claimed the lives of skippers and sailors a good deal saltier than Nick and Jip. As Nick had known from earliest childhood, countless ships and men had gone to the bottom courtesy of the Gravestone Rock. Or the seven deadly spines of rock spreading like tentacles in all directions from its base. The Seven Devils, the reefs were called, and not for nothing, either. Here was as fiendish a bit of coastline as ever there was.
This perilous coast had finally led to the building of Nick's home. Even now, the great Greybeard Light sent yellow stabs streaking overhead through the darkening sky. This flashing tower atop the cliffs off his port bow held special meaning for Nick McIver. It was both a warning to stay away and a summons to come home. For Nick lived atop that lighthouse, he was a lighthouse keeper's son. And now it looked as if the famous rock below it might claim the boy, if the boy didn't think of something, and quickly. IF THE GRAVESTONE DOESN'T GET YOU, THE SEVEN DEVILS WILL! Read the legend carved into the mantel at the Greybeard Inn. And the long-dead British tar who had carved it there knew well whereof he spoke. At that moment, Nick wished he himself had carved those ancient words of warning into the pitching desk he now stood upon.
"We're not going to make it, boy!" shouted an anguished Nick, "I can't keep her pointed high enough!" Indeed he could not steer, nor will, the bow of his small boat to windward of the ever larger Gravestone. For every foot of forward motion Petrel gained, she was losing two feet to side-slipping. Adrenaline poured into Nick's veins as he realized the potential for total disaster in what he was about t odo.
A whispered prayer to his long dead hero escaped his lips.
Nelson the Strong, Nelson the Brave, Nelson the Lord of the Sea.
Nick faced a terribly decision. The most brutal maneuver any sailor could make in such a dreadful blow was a jibe. Jibing meant turning the boat away from the wind, instead of into it, so that its brutal force passed directly behind the mainsail. The huge mainsail and heavy boom would then come whipping across the cockpit with a violence that could easily rip the mast from the boat. But what choice did the have? The terrible decision was already made.
"Jibe HO!" he shouted to his shaggy crew. He pulled sharply back on his tiller instead of pushing against it. The bow swung instantly off the wind. "Mind yer heads," Nick bellowed. The stout wooden boom and violently snapping mainsail came roaring across the small open cockpit like the furies of hell. "Down, boy!" Nick cried, and ducked under the heavy wooden boom at the last second, narrowly avoiding a blow to the head which would have sent him, unconscious, overboard. The lines, the sails, the rigging, every plank of his boat was screaming at their breaking point. She'd been built of stout timber, but he could feel Petrel straining desperately at her seams. If a plank should spring open now, this close to a rocky lee shore, they were surely done for!
But she held. Looking aloft, he saw his mast and rigging mostly intact. By jibing the boat, he'd gained precious time to think.
Nick feverishly eyed his options, now rapidly dwindling to nil. There had to be a way out of this! Nicholas McIver was not a boy destined to die such a stupid, unseamanlike death. Not if he could help it. He had a healthy fear of dying, all right, but now, staring death square in the face, he was far more afraid of letting them all down. His mother. His father. His little sister, Katie. His best friend, Gunner.
Wasn't that a fate even worse than death, he wondered? For a boy to slip beneath the cold waves without even the chance to prove to those he loved that he was a brave boy, a boy destined to do great things in this world? A boy who might one day be-a hero?
The already fresh wind had now built into something truly appalling. Petrel was rapidly running out of sea room. The sickly green-yellow sky cast its unhealthy flow over the frothing sea. Nick heard an ominous roar building on his port side. Just as he looked up, a wave like an onrushing locomotive crashed over the windward side of the little boat, staggering the tiny vessel, knocking her instantly and violently on her side. Nick was buried under a torrent of cold seawater. He clung desperately to the tiller to avoid being washed overboard. He was thinking only of Jip, again standing watch up on the bow. As the weight of her heavy lead keep quickly righted the boat once more, Nick, sputtering, strained forward, rubbing the stinging saltwater from his eyes. His dog was still there. Heaven only knew how the creature had managed it. In fact, Jip was barking loudly, surely in anger t the wave that had almost done them in.
"All that lead we hung off her bottom is good for something, eh, Jipper? Hang on, boy!" Nick cried. "I'll think of something!" But what, his mind answered, whatever could he do? He knew that the next wave they took broadside would be their last. He fought the tiller, determined to get the towering waves on Petrel's stern. It was his only chance.
Just at that moment Petrel was lifted high above a cavernous trough by the hand of another huge wave. For a brief moment, Nick could see most of the northern tip of his island. And he knew in that instant what he had to do. There was no escaping to the windward of the Gravestone Rock. Since Petrel could never make headway back into the teeth of the storm, he now had no choice. He must fall off to the leeward side of the rock, sailing a dead run before the wind, directly into the waiting jaws of the Seven Devils. Nothing else for it, he thought, more grimly determined than ever.
From the crest of the wave, Nick had seen a small flash of white on the rocky shore dead ahead. It could only mean a sandy cove, one of many along this coast where he and Kate played on sunny days.
If he could somehow time the waves precisely, so that Petrel's keel might just brush the Devil's deadly tops, he just might have a chance at beaching the boat on the sandy shore of that little cove. Yes, he just might.
Now that he had a plan, the boy's spirits soared. It wasn't much of a plan, but it was the only chance he had. If it failed, why, he- "Shorten sail, lads!" Nick cried to his imaginary crew, clenching the damp and salty mainsheet in his teeth as he loosed the main halyard with his free hand. In a blow like this, reducing sail area by reefing the main wouldn't decrease his boat speed by much, but it might just be enough to control his timing of the waves over the reefs. It was clear that Nick would need all the seamanship, and luck, he could muster to get captain and crew safely ashore.
Jip, as if recognizing the desperate seriousness of their situation, came aft to stand watch beside his master. Nick was glad of his company.
"Steady now, steady," cried Nick, bracing his knees against the thwart seat and winding the mainsheet round his fist to secure it. The force of the wind on the shortened sail made Nick's arm feel as if it might be pulled from its socket. "Steady as she goes, lads!" Wind and water were tossing the sloop about like a pond boat, throwing his timing off dangerously. Entering the procession of towering rollers, Nick felt his sloop surge forward. "Look alive, Jip, we're in for a bit of a sleigh-ride!" he cried. Jip growled and stood his ground.
The trick, and it was a good one, was keeping Petrel out of the sequence of huge waves rushing toward the treacherous shore. To wait until the timing was precisely right. "Right" meant that Petrel was lifted at the precise moment her keel was passing over each one of the jagged Devils. It was going to take luck all right, bags of the stuff, luck and no small measure of skill.
"Easy… easy… and… NOW!" cried Nick, heaving the tiller to starboard to swing his bow around. If there was a tinge of fear remaining in his voice you couldn't hear it for the wind or the spray or the sheer exhilaration of the moment as he steered the little boat down the broad steep face of the wave toward the deep trough below. Petrel's moment of truth had finally arrived.
"We need to come up, now, boy." Nick said, holding on to his tiller for dear life. The Gravestone Rock loomed dangerously close to his left as Petrel plunged deeper into the trough. "We. Need. To. Come. UP!" Nick held his breath. He'd seen the ugly spine of the first reef from the top of his wave and knew that Petrel's keel would clear it if only he had timed his descent into the trough perfectly. He clenched his jaw, unaware how painfully tight it was. Jip, too, was rigid, staring at the wall of water before them, sensing the moment.
Petrel's bow suddenly lifted. She was rising high on the majestic swell and Nick waited for the tearing sound of her keep on the deadly jagged rock. It occurred to him in that moment that it would probably be one of the last sounds he would ever hear.
It didn't come.
At the wave's crest, Nick could see that he'd timed it perfectly. The waves would now lift him over the two razor-sharp reefs that remained between Petrel and the safety of the sandy cove. Jip scrambled forward once more to his station at the bow. He barked loudly in triumph, daring the forces of nature to do battle once more with the mighty Petrel and he daring crew.
"Hooray!" Nick cried in both relief and exultation. "We did it, boy, we perfectly well did it, didn't we?"
In the deep bottle-green safety of the cove, it was simply a matter of running Petrel toward shore until her keel beached on the soft sand. That done, Nick quickly freed the main and jib halyards and all the wet canvas fell to the deck. As the boat swung round and listed to her starboard side, a happy Nick and Jip leapt over the gunwale and waded ashore. Nick made fast a line from Petrel's bow to a large rock on the shore. Then he and Jip ducked into the mouth of the nearest cave to escape the fury of the storm.
And they had been safe, perched on a deep ledge inside the cave, waiting for the storm to blow itself out before sailing home for supper.
This cave, it occurred to Nick as he and Jip climbed back into the boat, might make an excellent hiding place someday. Either as a place to hide from bloodthirsty pirates, or a place to secret any treasure he and his crew might find during their future navigations.
"All right, boy," Nick said, hauling down the halyard that raised his mainsail once more, "Time to fly away home!" Now that the storm had subsided, he was confident he could pick his way through the reefs with little trouble. After all, he knew their locations by heart.
Yes, you could always rely upon young Nicholas McIver to get his crew home safely. After all, was there a more reliable boy in all of England?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 75 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 76 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2008

    'Amazed, dazzled, swept off to sea!

    Wow! Some books sweep you away. Ted Bell's Nick of Time amazed me, dazzled me, and swept my imagination off to sea. The interweaving of pirate adventures at sea with the threat of German U-boats pre-WWII was accomplished so skillfully that I yearned to join them traveling through time. Ted Bell's descriptions were so vivid, I could picture every scene in full-color. With the exciting action scenes, I ignored the outside world to focus on this incredible tale. The history was so enticing, I found myself pouring through WWII texts on England's preparations for war, Churchill's struggles, and maps of the islands. I wanted to experience sailing and its dangers as Nick was able to do. Curse my landlocked childhood! I curled up with this book last weekend while battling the flu, but even the flu couldn't keep me away from the pages of this story. I was compelled to keep reading until past midnight. The last line of the story gave me hope for many more sequels. Please, Mr. Bell, may I have some more? I know you have written books for adults, but this title was truly amazing and I want to experience it again. Someone will be snatching up the rights to make this into a film soon! Give us hope that the sequel is on it's way. The message of heroism in Nick of Time has clung to me this week. I keep reviewing scenes and conversations from the story. Who are my heroes? What if I could travel through time to meet them? Would I have anything to offer them? Are there small roles in history that we could play that would impact others? How many of us could act as well as seven-year old Kate? Also, what has become of the villain Billy Blood? Where will he strike next? Middle school students are going to be so hooked by this book. Perhaps I should change to being a MS librarian just so I can help boys in particular find this book. Don't worry girls, you'll love this as much as I did and there is plenty to ponder after you're finished reading. Just don't think you can read only one chapter before breakfast. I tried and glanced up 80 pages later to wonder what had happened and where I'd been. I've been craving an adventure story with a good mystery and this arrived in the nick of time to rescue me. Nick of Time will be released in May, 2008... read the next great book for kids.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    "Nick of Time"

    I purchased this book as a gift. I have been told by my nephew that he loved the book and would enjoy more from the same author. Also he gives the book 5 stars for thrilling, story, absorbing,writing, Cover art and characters.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 6, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Marie Robinson for

    Set in 1939, NICK OF TIME is about young Nick McIver and his adventuresome spirit. <BR/><BR/>Nick loves to sail and be out on the water with his trusty dog, Jip. He loves it so much that he often loses track of time and comes home late for dinner, which irritates his tough yet loving mother. One night, Nick also discovers that his father is no ordinary lighthouse keeper. He's also a spy for England. What would become World War II was brewing, and Nick joins his dad in his efforts of spying for Nazis. <BR/><BR/>This story has a lot going for it. The writing is excellent, the story includes sailboats, Nazis, submarines, secret castles, mysterious villains, pirates, squawking parrots, dogs, cats, spies and, as the title implies, travel through time. The one downside is that it takes more than one hundred pages to get to the time travel promised by the title.<BR/><BR/>Nevertheless, it's a fun story, full of adventure and suspense, with a dose of history thrown in.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2003

    'A rip-roaring sea adventure'

    A modern day Treasure Island with a great 12 year old hero!! This book will delight any and all readers but boys 9 and up will absolutely eat it up! Pirates, Nazi submarines, and a dramatic sea rescue of kidnapped children. What a great read and a perfect break for all kids (and moms and dads, too) who are 'wild about Harry'!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    Best Ever to Get Your Boy Reading!

    This is a great book for everyone, but most especially for boys. Not only is it historical and teaches many historical facts overlooked in school, it teaches values like courage and persistence. It is entertaining for both boys 10 and over and all adults. I read it along with my grandson, and we compared notes each night. He wants to read it again, because he knows he may have missed some important little clues to the entire plot. Great writing. Wish Ted Bell would write many more like it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2008

    Birth of a CLASSIC!

    Reading this book I felt like I was back in time, a time when books were full of not only adventure, but values such as courage and love of country and boys who were self- reliant and wanting to be heroes! In my view, it's a classic in the making! It may sound old-fashioned but believe me, it isn't! One of the most exciting adventure stories I've ever read. And I am not exaggerating even a smidge. Clearly written for youngsters but this oldster loved it!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2008

    Nazis, Pirates and Time Travel

    Bought this book for my 12 year old nephew and sat down to read a chapter to make sure it was 'clean' enough to gift - it is. Got hooked and ended up reading the whole book myself over the weekend. Enjoyment of the book requires an imagination as the time travel and constant non-stop adventures go well beyond reality. However, the characters are well-developed, the plot is fast moving, the historical elements are informative, and each of the short chapters leaves the reader wanting to know what happens next. I think some of the nautical vocabulary and historical context are likely beyond pre-teen knowledge but the story will delight.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engaging preadolescent time travel fantasy

    As Europe flares up with the latest continental war this time between the allies and the Fascists, twelve years old Nick McIver and his younger sister Kate live with their father in a lighthouse on Graybeard Island, one of the Channel islands. The Nazi U-boats surround their island while their father tries to get important information to the War Office in London. Meanwhile Nick finds a chest containing an odd plea from a long dead ancestor. Apparently Royal Naval Captain Nicholas McIver is in trouble, but has critical information that Lord Admiral Nelson needs. The message accompanies a handy time machine that enables Nick to go back to 1805 to help his antecedent. --- As Nick goes back to the Napoleonic Era, Kate joins Lord Hawke and Commander Hobbes as they try to steal an experimental Nazi submarine. At the same relative time in both eras, pirate Billy Blood uses his portable time machine to abduct the children of wealthy parents from various periods that he takes to his French warship he demands exorbitant ransom if they want their brats back. In 1805 he is about to kill Nick¿s relative in 1939, he considers kidnapping Nick¿s sister. --- Ted bell¿s fine young adult thriller is an engaging preadolescent time travel fantasy in which readers will root for the McIver pair to be in THE NICK OF TIME to save England at sea TWICE a century and half apart. The sea battles are incredibly descriptive in both periods so much so that the audience can compare the navies. Although the non-stop action twists reasoning in order to keep the escapades going, no one will care as readers will cheer on the fully developed young champions while hissing that diabolically bloody pirate. --- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2003

    Nick of Time

    From its striking dust cover art to its beautiful binding and print, this middle-grade adventure story has it all: boats and the sea, pirates, castles, Nazis, and time travel. It has everything a young reader could want. The writing is crisp, clear, and practically flawless. Description and scene setting put the reader in the middle of things where he or she is immediately drawn into the adventure with the leading characters, Nick and Kate. As the story progresses, more and more actors are sprinkled in until a full host are moving the story faster and faster forward toward a roaring climax. Action never stops in the great novel which rivals Robert Lewis Stevenson's Treasure Island in size and scope. The author covers this book's sometimes rapid point of view changes with seamless transition and skill seldom seen in a beginning writer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2003

    Nick of Time

    This book is cool. Period. When you're done reading all the Harry Potter books, check this out!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    This is a great book

    Their is amasing stuff in this book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2010


    I found this book to be captivating from the first page. The reader is pulled into the adventures of Nick and his friends, and kept at the edge of your seat with every turn of the page. Bell has created an adventure for both young and old. I personally can't wait for the next installment.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2015


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2015

    Good book, writing is very good.

    The series is one i like to read again and again.

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  • Posted October 7, 2014

    "Nick of Time" is an epic novel for readers of any age

    &quot;Nick of Time&quot; is an epic novel for readers of any age. Author Ted Bell wrote it for kids, but adults would find it a fascinating read too. This is the story that Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island) could have written if he lived in our generation.

    The first chapters light upon twelve-year-old Nick McIver, the son of the lighthouse keeper on a little English island. The year is 1939. Trouble is stirring from Germany, and someone needs to spy on what the Nazis are doing. As young Nick begins to learn of the disturbing things happening above him in the air, and below him in the sea, he becomes concerned for the well-being of England and its people. Who is truly safe from the Nazis' efforts? Nick can't just sail away from these problems on his clipper, like he so enjoys doing. This time, he's in it for the fight, no matter where it takes him.

    Next is the leap into time travel! It's an exciting aspect of the book, which takes the reader away from the beginning of World War II and into a time much earlier, where there's a large problem to solve at sea, and not much time to escape. Will Nick's new comrades (AKA &quot;scientific detectives&quot;) be able to help him get back to 1939 in one piece?

    Aside from the Nazis, Nick has inherited his very own personal enemy --- who is a pirate, no less. Not just any pirate either, but one who can travel through time. Nick is kept on his toes, never knowing from which direction that the infamous William Blood may appear from.

    So many great characters are featured in this book! I wish I could tell you about Gunner, Commander Hobbes and Lord Hawke, but you'll have to read the book to find out about them. I truly think the author did such a wonderful job with describing his characters. Although a decidedly masculine cast takes the spotlight, there's one little girl who simply shines. Kate, Nick McIver's little sister is an adorable sweetheart, who fits in so perfectly with the action. She's smart for her age, and may as well take on the entire German Gestapo with her charm.

    The only con that I found in the entire story is that it does include violence --- more so that most juvenile novels might have. Then again, this adventure isn't quite like any other juvenile novel either. It's that good.

    Other notes: The audiobook with John Shea as narrator is the perfect listening material on a rainy day.

    &quot;Nick of Time&quot; is an exciting nautical adventure, filled with peril, wit, and the element of surprise. I can hardly wait for the sequel, &quot;The Time Pirate&quot;.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    To long. I liked the idea of the book and what the author wante

    To long. I liked the idea of the book and what the author wanted to put across, but the book was way too long and in some instances, boring.

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  • Posted February 17, 2013

    Please see my Goodreads review...

    Please see my Goodreads review...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013


    Gr8 book so much adventure

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    Smell my feet

    U guys suck at spelling, OSUM really, are u people to lazy to spell out a word. Thats just dumb

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Great book

    Loved it. It was soo good

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