In Timelock, the thrilling finale to the Caretaker Trilogy, the end of life as we know it has arrived, and history will be made or lost at the hands of one young hero.
Jack Danielson has spent the last year saving the oceans and the Amazon, attempting to fulfill a prophecy that was written before his birth. Now he's more than ready to get back to life as a typical teenager and spend some quality time with his girlfriend, P.J. Too bad the world has other plans.
Wrenched away once more from those he knows and loves, Jack is thrust through time to the fiery deserts of the future and the frozen tundra of the Arctic, battling cyborgs, zombie warlocks, and scorpions the size of tanks. At least he has Gisco everyone's favorite surly telepathic canine to keep him company, not to mention the Ninja Babe, Eko. And he will finally be reunited with the parents who abandoned him so long ago, in order that he might save their dying planet.
But it isn't only a race to save Earth. As the clock ticks down before the final confrontation with the dreaded Dark Lord, Jack must decide once and for all who he really is prince of the future or humble human of the present and choose between the two women who love him.
About the Author
David Klass is the author of many young adult novels, including You Don't Know Me, Losers Take All, and Grandmaster. He is also a Hollywood screenwriter, having written more than twenty-five action screenplays, including Kiss the Girls, starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd; Walking Tall, starring The Rock; and Desperate Measures, starring Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia.
Read an Excerpt
The Caretaker Trilogy: Book 3
By David Klass
Farrar, Straus and GirouxCopyright © 2009 David Klass
All rights reserved.
Manhattan. Seven-thirty in the evening. Indian summer. No way it should be this warm in late September, but I'm sweating in my T-shirt as I run through the gloaming and feel the cold prickle on the back of my neck. Someone is watching me. Now. Here. Close by.
Had enough sentence fragments yet? My English teacher said they were a weakness of mine. But that was more than a year ago, when I was a senior at Hadley High School, leading a relatively normal life.
I'm not in Hadley anymore, and I can never go back. Too much has happened to me since then. Firestorm adventure to save the oceans, over. Whirlwind trip to the Amazon, completed. I'm a year older. I hope a bit wiser. But I still like sentence fragments. They generate pace. If you want speed, stick around, my friend. If you enjoy weird, don't budge from that chair.
I feel that prickle again. Glance around quickly. Gangly guy in spandex checking his fancy stopwatch for lap time. Cute chick with red hair bopping along the wrong way, listening to her music, making all the other runners veer around her. Family of four jogging in pairs, mother-son, father-daughter. Everyone looks a bit strange.
This is Manhattan, after all. Hundreds of people in the park on a warm autumn evening doing their funky big-city things and surreptitiously checking each other out.
That's why I'm here. I came to the Big Apple because it seemed like a good place to lose myself and start over. Shed a skin. Jump into the bubbling stew. Melting pot supreme.
Got a job working construction. See a lot of P.J. who's a freshman at Barnard College. There are days when I work fifteen hours and no one gives me a second look, and I almost believe that it's possible for me to live a relatively normal life.
And then there are the moments like this when I know I'm kidding myself.
I do a three-sixty, looking for telltale signs. No tall cyborgs. No bat creatures. No one dodges my gaze.
Could be a false alarm. Maybe I'm paranoid. Except that deep down I know it's real. Can't spitball who's watching me, but I'm positive they're out there.
I have only two choices, neither of them particularly appealing. I can wait for them to make their move. Or I can try to run away.
I pick up the pace as darkness settles over the reservoir. Outside the park, the lights of Central Park West and Fifth Avenue blink on. An urban constellation frames an oasis of dark, rippling water. I've seen the world a bit. Swum deep under the oceans to a virgin sea mount. Found the hidden valley of the Amazon. A beautiful evening in Manhattan is still a pretty spectacular thing.
I'm running fast now. Passing people. Arms pumping. No one can keep up with me. But they don't have to.
Whoever's watching me may be stationary, following my laps from a bench. Or maybe they're ensconced high up in an apartment overlooking the park, like the Gorm who lured me to her penthouse lair, watching me through a window with nightscopes. Or it could be a kid, or a mechanical bird, or even a shape-shifting squirrel.
I first felt the prickle one week ago, at P.J.'s dinner party. I admit I was nervous anyway.
Nice of her to invite me, but I didn't fit in. P.J.'s new friends. The college set. A dozen Columbia and Barnard freshmen. Giggling about a charming anthropology professor with endless eccentric anecdotes and complaining about an arduous chem lab. Comparing reading lists and writing assignments. Trying out new words, new hairstyles, and post–high school personas on each other.
One goofy guy not in college. Didn't even finish high school. Nice to meet you, Jack. What do you do? Oh, really, you work construction? How do you know P.J.? High school friend? Well, nice talking to you.
We're eating in the garden of a Greek restaurant downtown. I'm trying to pretend that I don't mind being completely ignored. Go ahead and converse. Posture. Pontificate. I'll just concentrate on this plate of kabobs.
I listen politely as I unskewer lamb chunks with my hands, calloused from heavy work. The physics phenom sitting next to me keeps stealing glances at my missing pinky. Want to know how I lost that one, Einstein? A fiend named Dargon cut it off on a trawler, while his thugs held me down. But don't mind me. Go on making fun of your linear algebra teaching assistant's stutter. I'm riveted.
P.J. isn't fooled. She's watching me. I give her a nonchalant grin and she smiles back. Okay, prep school lacrosse star. Tell her about your family's spread in the Hamptons. She'll listen and nod, but I'm the one who will be walking her home tonight. I'm the one who will be riding up in the elevator with her, to her dorm room. I'm the one who will follow her into the common room, past her three roommates, to her tiny bedroom filled with books.
And guess what? You may have the hip clothes and the preppy cool and the million-dollar summerhouse, but I'm the one who will put my arms around her and kiss her on her soft warm lips, and tell her I love her.
Except that she definitely seems interested in that place in Bridgehampton. And the lacrosse player is smart enough not to go after her too aggressively, but rather he makes it a group thing. Somehow a party starts to get planned there, a big bash with costumes and a live band. And I don't think I'm on the guest list.
I excuse myself and head to the bathroom. Twenty other tables in the garden. Glasses clinking. Silverware clanking. And that's when I feel it.
On the back of my neck. The tactile equivalent of someone raking his fingernails across a blackboard. It makes me squirm and wheel around.
All I see are couples sipping wine and spooning lemon chicken soup by candlelight. There are a few large groups digging into platters of stuffed grape leaves and devouring baby lamb chops as they banter back and forth.
I burst inside and check out the bar, the waiters, and the kitchen staff. They're all busy with plates and trays and glasses. "The bathroom's down there, sir," a waiter explains, misinterpreting my distress.
Seconds later I'm in the bathroom splashing cold water on my face and trying to calm down. Because this is the nightmare I live with. That they'll find me again. Hunt me down. Rip off the bandage and open the scar.
And now it's happened.
I knew it instantly, at that dinner party, standing in the courtyard of the Greek restaurant. Sure, I tried to convince myself that it had just been a chill breeze on the back of my neck. But as I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, I knew they had found me and it was starting all over again.
I knew it with even more certainty two days later at the construction site, hard hat on and tool belt in place, stepping out on a high girder. Couldn't afford to shiver up there, but I felt the cold prickle again. All of Manhattan below. Dozens of office buildings. Anyone could be watching me.
So now, in Central Park, it isn't a complete surprise. But this is strike three. No use pretending anymore. I go into full sprint for the last hundred yards, and as I fly along, arms pumping, I force myself to face the bitter truth. Have to act quickly. Take time off my job. Go out of town for a while. Maybe get myself a weapon. And most difficult of all, I must tell P.J.
She's so happy at Barnard, living a normal life again. She never told her parents what happened after she disappeared from Hadley. She feigned amnesia. They brought her to psychologists and specialists, and finally they just gave up and were glad she came back to them.
Now she's starting to enjoy life again. Making new friends. Taking classes. Excelling in art. Touring galleries. Going home on weekends to see her folks.
At the same time, I've noticed she's stopped talking to me about our Amazon experiences. If I bring it up, she'll nod and mumble a few words. But she herself never mentions it. She's put the whole thing behind her. Wiped the slate clean.
She won't enjoy hearing that it's not over. That it may never be over. But I have no choice. Because the Dark Army kidnapped her once. They may try again. She's a player in this now. If they've found me, they probably also know that she's here, so she has to be on her guard.
I finish my ten miles and leave the park, breathing hard. Normally, I would enjoy this feeling after a good run, my blood pumping, my wet shirt sticking to my chest and back as the evening wind blows. But the prospect of telling P.J. fills me with dread. I can imagine the look in her eyes when she hears it. Don't, Jack. Please stop now.
But there's no choice. No delay possible. I have to tell her. Tonight. At nine o'clock, when she comes home from the library. If I don't warn her and something happens, I'll never forgive myself.
So instead of heading to my own tiny room, I jog to Broadway and head uptown toward Barnard.CHAPTER 2
Broadway, eight in the evening.
Not the bohemian Broadway of Soho or the Village, or the touristy, glitzy Broadway of Times Square and the Theater District. This is the authentic Broadway for me, where New York starts to feel ethnic again.
I hear hip-hop. Smell pizza. Signs start popping up in Spanish. There's a curry joint. A Korean grocery. The White Lotus Karate Academy with a class going on inside. I peer through the window. Manhattanites of all different sizes and races learning to kick and punch. I bet Eko could show them a few tricks.
I haven't heard from the Ninja Babe since she jumped out a window in the Amazon in pursuit of a spider who was really the Dark Lord. Gisco hasn't dropped me a postcard, either. I wonder if he returned Mudinho to his village.
Just thinking about such things as I walk up Broadway makes me realize how wacky my life is. All around me is a pulsing city crammed with an endless variety of people returning home from school and work. They've come here from the ends of the earth, and have wildly different lives and sets of problems to worry about, but at least they're all playing in the same ballpark of reality.
None of them are plagued by memories of dark masterminds from a thousand years hence who shape-shift into tarantulas and scuttle off into the rain forest. None of them miss wizards or telepathic dogs or beautiful ninja babes, who have probably all returned to their now-pristine future world.
I walk faster, attempting to leave the memories and the doubts behind. But the most upsetting question of all continues to tug at me: Isn't that mysterious far future world really my world, since I was born into it, and both my parents still live there?
No, I tell myself. Don't walk down that path. It leads straight to madness. I've crawled out of the rabbit hole. It's time to draw a line. I am Jack Danielson now, construction worker. Public library user. Young man about town. On the way to see my ladylove.
But deep down I know it's not over. That's why they were watching me at the restaurant, at the construction site, and tonight at the reservoir. And that's why I need to warn P.J., even if she freaks.
I'm more than halfway to Barnard. Starting to freak a bit myself. Because I know that whatever words I use to tell her, however gently I break the news, I'm going to scare the daylights out of her. Worse than that. I'm going to widen the gulf between us. She'll once again associate me with a nightmare she's trying hard to forget.
Eventually, in her effort to construct a normal life, she'll reach for something safe and traditional. End up with the lacrosse player. Can I really blame her?
I pound my fist into my hand so hard it makes a smacking sound. People glance over at me. Yes, damn it, I can blame her. We love each other. Love is supposed to conquer all. Even the weird stuff. But what can I do?
Four blocks from P.J.'s dorm, I get the idea. It pops into my head out of the dark sky. Don't show up with bad news and empty-handed, dummy. Bring her something to sweeten the mood a bit. What do all girls love? Flowers.
Now I'm not a candy and flowers kind of a guy. My presents to P.J. usually run more along the lines of a new book that I've enjoyed, or a CD she can listen to while I give her a back rub.
Come to think of it, I don't even think P.J. likes candy. But she does like flowers.
And here's a nice corner flower store — the Gotham Garden. Surprisingly, it's still open and ready for business. There's a display of orchids outside. A sign in the window promises: "Bouquets made to order. Let our flowers touch the heart of your special one."
Yes, please touch her. Just what I need.
I push the door open and head inside.
Flower displays floor to ceiling. Roses. Tulips. Lilies. Irises. Dozens of vibrant blooms that I can't identify, but then I'm no flower expert.
Two young shop workers are performing menial tasks. A bored girl with a pierced nose sorts ferns. A big guy in a Giants cap sweeps up fallen leaves.
"Excuse me," I say, "but I need some help."
"Stanley!" the fern sorter calls. Then she tilts back her head, opens her mouth wide, and bellows: "STANLEY. CUSTOMER."
A pudgy middle-aged man hurries out of the flower-cooler room, wiping his hands on a towel. His bald head gleams under the lights and his eyeglasses are crooked. He looks me over quickly, taking in my shorts and sweaty T-shirt, perhaps wondering if I've got any money. "Evening," he says, "how can I help you?"
I take out the thin wallet I carry when I run, to put his mind at rest. "I'd like to buy a dozen red roses."
"You've come to the right place. We have some real beauties," he assures me and then hesitates. "But are you sure you wouldn't want something a little more interesting? I could make you up a nice mixed bouquet?"
"Thanks, but I can't go too far wrong with red roses," I point out. "And I'm in a bit of a hurry."
"You got it," he says, sounding a little disappointed. Then he smiles. "Roses are red, violets are blue, she'll love them, so she'll love you."
The guy sweeping up snorts derisively, and the girl sorting ferns turns to me and says, "Forgive him. He's a nice man, but he can't help himself."
"Nothing wrong with a little poetry to break up the tedium of life," the florist replies with a defensive smile. And then, conspiratorially: "Tell you what, son. Meredith is gonna get your roses. Let me show you some truly special flowers that just came in, so that maybe next time I can talk you into a mixed bouquet."
I glance at my watch. "I really don't have ..."
He's already opened the door of the cooler room and is ushering me inside. "It'll take two minutes, while she's clipping and wrapping your roses. You won't lose any time. Humor me. A flower of beauty is a joy forever."
I don't have it in me to be rude to a man who paraphrases John Keats and makes up his own bad doggerel. So I nod and walk in through the held-open door. It clicks shut behind us and we're alone in the cooler.
Big white pots on racks. Each pot is filled with a different type of flower. There's a long wooden table in the center, which I guess is used for assembling bouquets. It's not icy cold, like a meat locker. But it is chilly.
"I'm sweaty from running," I tell him. "This probably isn't such a good idea ..."
But he's pulled a magnificent purple flower out of a pot and is holding it for my inspection. "Take a look at this baby. Just came in. It's called a Moon Shadow."
Excerpted from Timelock by David Klass. Copyright © 2009 David Klass. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction By Debra Ginsberg,
Main Cast Biographies,
1. My Freshman Year Of High School 1,
2. Thanksgiving Special 2002,
3. Blaze, Courtney, And Amber,
4. My Freshman Year Of High School 2,
5. Thanksgiving Special 2003,
6. Blaze, Matt, And Danny 1,
7. Games 1,
8. My Crush On Hilary Duff 1,
9. Thanksgiving Special 2004,
10. Blaze, Matt, And Danny 2,
11. Games 2,
12. My Crush On Hilary Duff 2,
13. Senior Year 1,
14. Thanksgiving Special 2005,
15. Games 3,
16. Senior Year 2,
17. Vista View College Days 1,
18. Knowing Tara (Vista View Spin-off Series),
19. All-store Meetings At Natural Market,
20. Thanksgiving Special 2006,
21. Vista View College Days 2,
22. Dance Of Revenge (Special),
23. Government Offices 1,
24. Holding On: A Rough Summer (Movie),
25. Government Offices 2,
26. My Crush On Sara Paxton,
27. Thanksgiving Special 2007,
28. Episodes, The Book (Miniseries),
genres: comedy / drama / family / more,
Reading Group Guide
Discussion Questions for timeloCk: the Caretaker trilogy, Book 3
1. Where does he belong, in the present or the future? That is the conundrum for Jack Danielson, aka
Jair Dann. His feelings waver throughout Timelock. As you read the book, keep track of the things he says and thinks that help him make his decision. Which choice would you have made?
2. It's disappearing . . . melting at an accelerating rate for the past few decades . . . Even if the Dark
Lord hadn't decided to lend a hand, the Arctic Ocean would have been completely free of ice in a few decades. [p. 181]
· Gisco delineates a doomsday scenario with the melting of the polar ice cap due to global warming. Have you been keeping up with the issue of climate change in newspapers, books,
TV programs, and school? Is Gisco's fatalism universally accepted by the scientifi c and political communities? Can the polar ice cap really disappear?
· It has been said that the Arctic is global warming's "canary in the coal mine." Discuss the meaning of this phrase.
An excellent resource for you to use when formulating your opinions is the Natural Resources
Defense Council. You can access their Web site at: www.nrdc.org
3. "Beacon of Hope, you're the one who needs to help us," the bald fl orist says.
I look back at the florist. Shake my head, "No."
"Yes," he insists. "Terrible things have happened. There's no time to lose."
"NO!" I scream . . . "Find someone else. I'm out of here." [pp. 14–15]
Jack is conscripted against his will and sent to the future to continue fighting the Dark Army. There he encounters an array of odd creatures that have evolved over the millennium: Gorms, wurfles,
giant nematodes, glagour, and giant scorpions, to name a few. Creatures like these populate science fiction. How are these creatures like others you have come across in books and movies such as Star
Wars and Star Trek? Which creature is the most disturbing?
4. Jack is open to a family reconciliation, but when his father asks Jack to trust him, Jack says: "Why should I? . . . You've never been a father to me." [p. 149]
Then his mother implores, "Come over here and join us. Let us be a family this last time."
Jack yells to his parents, "No, I won't join you . . . We've never been a family, so why start now? . . .
I'll die as I lived, alone . . . I'll never forgive you." [p. 153]
Even in the face of danger and certain death, Jack refuses to cut his parents any slack. In the end,
he joins them out of necessity. Do you think his anger is justified? How does he finally resolve his feelings?
5. "The King of Dann is dead. Long live the King . . . Destiny, Jair . . . Destiny . . . and duty." [p. 229]
Jack's father's dying words reiterate the burden children of royalty have to beardestiny and duty.
For Jack's father, there was never a choice. What choice did Jack have? Often, children are expected to follow in their parents' footsteps or to live out their parents' dreams. Talk about this family imperative in your own life.
6. To prevent the Dark Army from returning to the present, Kidah will lock time. He tells Jack, "The past will feed into the future in a one-way stream, as it was meant to do." [p. 235] This return to the normal progression of time assumes that people in the present and succeeding generations will make the correct decisions about the environment. What evidence is there to support that view?
7. Timelock closes the Caretaker Trilogy, but not the story of Jack and Eko. What do you think will happen next?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book closes the caretaker trilogy nicely. Tying up most loose ends and ending with a nice happy ending feeling in the pit of your stomach. Highly recommend you read the entire series if you enjoy teenage love and fictional themes.
This is the conclusion to the Caretaker Trilogy. It is the book I liked the least of the three, although I did enjoy the series. I don't want to put in any spoilers, and if I tell you why I liked it least, there would be several spoilers in there, so you'll have to read it for yourself, and then talk to me about it! In book three, Jack gets sent back to the future, to save his dad, and ultimately, the Earth. Due to the actions of the Dark Army, he doesn't land where he should in the future, and instead, has a bit of an adventure getting to where he needs to be. He meets his real mom and his real dad, and then, before they can have much of a reunion at all, Jack and his dad and some helpers have to head back to Earth for the final battle, which takes place deep in the Arctic Ocean.
First two books are epic
Very good book
This is just an unbelievable series