Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Book of Time (novel series)

"The Book of Time", originally released as "Le Livre du Temps", is a French children's fantasy novel trilogy written by Guillaume Prévost and first published in France by Gallimard Jeunesse. The first book of the series, La Pierre Sculptée, was released in February 2006; the final book was released in November 2008. The trilogy follows fourteen-year-old Sam Faulkner as he travels through time and around the world via a strange statue and some unusual coins with holes in them to find his missing father.

Prévost created the series to help children see how history could be fascinating, basing the central characters on his own children. Scholastic Corporation licensed the series for an English language release in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.[1] Translated by William Rodarmor, the first novel was released simultaneously in all three countries under the name The Book of Time in 2007; the final English volume is due to be released in 2009.

The series received mixed reviews from critics, with the first book in particular being heavily criticized for lacking depth and for its undeveloped characters. The second novel was better received with reviewers finding it action-packed and praising its conclusion, but noting that it lacked originality.


After 14-year-old Sam Faulkner's mother Elisa died in a car accident, his father Allan opens the Faulkner Antiquarian Bookstore and moves himself into it while Sam lives with his grandmother, grandfather, his aunt and her boyfriend and cousin Lily. Then his father vanishes. Sam waits for him to come home, but more than a week passes without a trace. He goes to the bookstore to search for clues. In a room he'd never seen before, he finds a strange red book called Crimes and Punishment During the Reign of Vlad Tepes, a stone statue with an odd circular indentation in it and a dusty coin with unreadable symbols. Curious, he fits the coin into the statue, and finds himself transported back to a strange island called Iona. He travels to a village there, where he finds another coin. Fitting it into the statue, he is transported again, this time to 800 AD to a Viking village in Scotland. As he finds other coins, he goes to other places, including France during World War I and ancient Egypt where he finds a large cache of the coins. Eventually, with help from his cousin Lily, he is able to transport back home. Together, they learn more about the time-traveling statue and a man named Vlad Tepes, the inspiration behind the Dracula legends, who they believe is holding Allan in fifteenth century Wallachia.

Sam and Lily begin searching for a way to reach him, but they are unable to control where the coins take Sam when he uses them. As the series progresses, Sam learns that he will need seven special coins to go to rescue his father. The effort to collect them takes him through a variety of historical locations and events. With the coins collected, he is finally able to rescue his father, only to find him dying and raving. Eventually he realizes his father wants to use the statue to prevent Elisa's death three years ago. Sam uses the coins to try to reach her, being taken through more historical events, as well as to the future where he sees his own grave.