Untimed is an action-packed time travel novel by Andy Gavin, author of The Darkening Dream and creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter.
Charlie's the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, his own mother can't remember his name. So when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don't take him seriously. Still, this isn't all bad. Who needs school when you can learn about history first hand, like from Ben Franklin himself. And there's this girl... Yvaine... another time traveler. All good. Except for the rules: boys only travel into the past and girls only into the future. And the baggage: Yvaine's got a baby boy and more than her share of ex-boyfriends. Still, even if they screw up history -- like accidentally let the founding father be killed -- they can just time travel and fix it, right? But the future they return to is nothing like Charlie remembers. To set things right, he and his scrappy new girlfriend will have to race across the centuries, battling murderous machines from the future, jealous lovers, reluctant parents, and time itself.
Untimed by Andy Gavin
Ever wonder what might happen if you stumbled back in time a couple of centuries and were inadvertently responsible for the death of one of our founding fathers? Would America still exist?
Untimed, by Andy Gavin, explores this idea. Charlie is an average teenager, so average that everyone seems to forget his name, but he comes from an interesting family. His dad disappears for long periods of time because he’s a time traveller. It turns out that Charlie has inherited this ability. When he goes back to the early 1700s, he meets a young Ben Franklin; then the trouble really begins, or is that when he meets the young Scottish lass, a teenage mother full of pizzazz…
Friendship, family, and loyalties are themes weaved into an adventurous plot. Adversaries of the traditional type and not-so-traditional type try to kill Charlie and his new girlfriend. Charlie and Yvaine both have the time-travelling ability, but there are limits on each of their talents. For starters, males can only travel to the past, and females only to the present.
These two lead characters are strong and memorable, being as well developed as the plot. The secondary characters do an essential job pushing the action through a series of fast-paced mishaps.
The story itself is fun, filled with tightly written action and emotional ups and downs. When Yvaine brings Charlie back to his present in the early 21st century, what they see is so bizarre to Charlie he is shocked. And when he sees what has become of his parents…Charlie and Yvaine must try to change things back, but they get thrown in jail for treason.
The various settings are intriguing, what ifs answered. The author did an excellent job, his style being fluent and descriptive. The lead characters are about 16, and there are a few “off-the-page” sex scenes. They aren’t described, but it’s there, along with sexual tension; however, this is handled well, making this book an interesting one for older teens to adults.
I recommend this book to those who like historical adventures, time travels, sci-fi, or even steam-punk. The illustrations included in the story are great and add to the tale.
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The man turns left at Chestnut and Third, and I follow him into Franklin Court.
He stops inside the skeleton of Ben Franklin’s missing house. Some idiots tore it down two hundred years ago, but for the bicentennial the city erected a steel ‘ghost house’ to replace it.
I tuck myself behind one of the big white girders and watch.
The man unbuttons his suit and winds himself.
Yes, that’s right. He winds himself. Like a clock. There’s no shirt under his jacket — just clockwork guts, spinning gears, and whirling cogs. There’s even a rocking pendulum. He takes a T-shaped key from his pocket, sticks it in his torso, and cranks.
Hardly police standard procedure.
Clueless tourists pass him without so much as a sideways glance. And I always assumed the going unnoticed thing was just me.
He stops winding and scans the courtyard, calibrating his head on first one point then another while his finger spins brass dials on his chest.
I watch, almost afraid to breathe.
CHIME. The man rings, a deep brassy sound — not unlike Grandmom’s old mantel clock.
I must have gasped, because he looks at me, his head ratcheting around 270 degrees until our eyes lock.
Glass eyes. Glass eyes set in a face of carved ivory. His mouth opens and the ivory mask that is his face parts along his jaw line to reveal more cogs.
CHIME. The sound reverberates through the empty bones of Franklin Court.
He takes his cane from under his arm and draws a blade from it as a stage-magician might a handkerchief.
CHIME. He raises the thin line of steel and glides in my direction.
CHIME. Heart beating like a rabbit’s, I scuttle across the cobblestones and fling myself over a low brick wall.
CHIME. His walking-stick-cum-sword strikes against the brick and throws sparks. He’s so close I hear his clockwork innards ticking, a tiny metallic tinkle.
CHIME. I roll away from the wall and spring to my feet. He bounds over in pursuit.
CHIME. I backpedal. I could run faster if I turned around, but a stab in the back isn’t high on my wishlist.
CHIME. He strides toward me, one hand on his hip, the other slices the air with his rapier. An older couple shuffles by and glances his way, but apparently they don’t see what I see.
CHIME. I stumble over a rock, snatch it up, and hurl it at him. Thanks to shot put practice, it strikes him full in the face, stopping him cold.
CHIME. He tilts his head from side to side. I see a thin crack in his ivory mask, but otherwise he seems unharmed.
CHIME. I dance to the side, eying the pavement, find another rock and grab it.
CHIME. We stand our ground, he with his sword and me with my stone.
“Your move, Timex!” I hope I sound braver than I feel.
CHIME. Beneath the clockwork man, a hole opens.
The manhole-sized circle in the cobblestones seethes and boils, spilling pale light up into the world. He stands above it, legs spread, toes on the pavement, heels dipping into nothingness.
The sun dims in the sky. Like an eclipse — still visible, just not as bright. My heart threatens to break through my ribs, but I inch closer.
The mechanical man brings his legs together and drops into the hole. The seething boiling hole.
I step forward and look down….
Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes.
Find him at: http://andy-gavin-author.com
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