Puffin Books, out April 11
A young FBI agent discovers that the witness relocation program sends its participants considerably further than she could ever have guessed…
Eoin Colfer’s new series is off to a flying start with this fast-paced action-packed adventure that stretches across two centuries. Its central “fish out of water” idea is not new – Mark Twain had fun with the idea, among many others – but Colfer is able to infuse new energy into it by sending the participants both ways. Young Riley comes forward from the 19th to the 21st century; FBI agent Chevie finds herself decades in her own past.
The relationship between the pair has the same sparks that Holly and Artemis Fowl had initially: two people from very different backgrounds who are forced together and find that they enjoy each other’s company, in between escaping from lunatics who are intent on killing them/their colleagues/everyone in the world (delete as applicable). Colfer throws in more than a few acerbic observations on the state of the world today as well as a few knocks at those who think that returning to Victorian times might be beneficial.
This feels like the pilot for a series in many ways: there’s a central story that is resolved to a certain extent, but with loose ends that could be tied up later if wanted, but which don’t need to be, as well as some indications at the end that there is far more going on than we realise. If Colfer can maintain the standard of this opener, which has a freshness that was inevitably beginning to sag in the Fowl books, sign me up for the program!
Verdict: With deception and self-deception adding layers to a fun romp, this is Colfer on top of his game. 8/10