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  • City of Time
  • Written by Eoin McNamee
  • Format: Hardcover Library Binding | ISBN: 9780375939129
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  • City of Time
  • Written by Eoin McNamee
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  • City of Time
  • Written by Eoin McNamee
    Read by Kirby Heyborne
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780739364796
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On Sale: April 28, 2009
Pages: 352 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89282-0
Published by : Yearling RH Childrens Books

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On Sale: June 24, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7393-6479-6
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

CATI, THE BOLD Watcher readers met in The Navigator, returns from the shadows of time to summon Owen and Dr. Diamond, for time is literally running out. The moon is coming closer to the earth, causing havoc with weather, tides, and other natural cycles; people fear the world will end. To discover what’s gone wrong, Cati, Owen, and the Doctor must take an astonishing journey to the City of Time, where time is bought and sold. There, Owen begins to understand his great responsibility and power as the Navigator.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Owen walked down the riverbank, straddled the log that acted as a bridge over the water, and shinned quickly across. It was a fine sunny day with a brisk cold wind blowing up from the sea. The wind stirred the branches of the trees over his head, where the first colors of autumn were just creeping onto the edges of the leaves.
He stopped at the end of the log as he always did and looked up at the dark bulk of the ruined Workhouse towering above him. It was hard to believe that it had been only a year since he had stumbled across a secret organization called the Resisters who were hidden inside, asleep until the world needed them.
He shivered at the memory of the deadly Harsh, the enemies of mankind and of life itself, who had sought to turn back time, spreading cold and darkness throughout the whole world. They had constructed a device called the Puissance, which was like a huge whirlwind, sucking in time. But the Resisters had emerged and Owen had joined with them to defeat the Harsh, imprisoning the Puissance in the mysterious old chest in his bedroom.
When the battle was over, the Resisters went back to sleep in the chamber known as the Starry, hidden under the Workhouse. They waited there until they were called again. It was his friend Cati’s job to watch for danger and to wake them when it came. She was invisible to the ordinary eye, hidden, as she said, in the shadows of time.
“Hello, Watcher!” Owen shouted as he always did, knowing she could see him even though he couldn’t see her. He paused and scanned the shadows under the trees, wondering if she was safe and if he would ever see her again. Time, he had learned, was a dangerous place.
He strode briskly along the path toward his Den. Owen had made the Den in a hollow formed by ancient walls and roofed it over with a sheet of perspex he had found. The entrance was cleverly disguised with branches, so it was almost impossible to find unless you knew where it was. He moved quickly. He was late for school, but he had an errand.
He uncovered the entrance and ducked into the Den. Everything was as it had been the evening before. The old sofa, the pile of comics, the battered old kettle and gas stove, the truck mirror on the wall. The only thing that had changed in a year was the empty space on the wall where the Mortmain had hung, the object that he had thought was an old boat propeller, the object that turned out to be the key to defeating the Harsh. It was a magical thing, whose properties he didn’t really understand. It resembled a battered piece of brass a little larger than a man’s hand, with three leaves coming out from the center. When activated, it transformed into an object of wonderful intricacy and power. The Mortmain was now in his bedroom as well, acting as a lock to keep the Puissance in the chest.
Owen looked at himself in the mirror. His face had filled out and the thin, worried boy of last year had gone. His brown eyes were still wary, but that wasn’t surprising, given the danger he’d gone through.
Quickly he opened the small box he had left on the old wooden table. He reached into his pocket and took out what looked like a jagged stone, one that glowed bright blue. It was the piece of magno that Cati had left as a keepsake, the stone filled with a power that the Resisters harnessed like electricity. He had taken it home with him the evening before, but he wasn’t comfortable leaving it in his bedroom. It belonged in the Den, close to the Workhouse. He shut the magno in the box, took a last glance round, then left.
Once outside, he climbed up the side of the bridge onto the road. His mother had forgotten to give him lunch again, so he ran toward Mary White’s shop. He had to stoop down to get into the tiny dark shop with the whitewashed front. As always, Mary was standing in the gloom behind the counter wearing an apron and pinafore, her hair in a bun.
“Have you been down at the Workhouse recently?” Mary asked. Owen remembered that the Resisters had spoken of her and seemed to have a great deal of respect for her. How much did she know about them and their battles with the Harsh?
“Be careful down there,” she said. “Be very careful.” For a moment the shop seemed to grow even darker and Mary’s face looked stern and ancient. Then she smiled and things went back to normal.
Owen bought a roll and some ham. He put the money on the counter and Mary looked at his hands, which were unusually long and slender for a boy. Just like his father’s, Mary thought. Hands that were made for something special.


From the Hardcover edition.
Eoin McNamee

About Eoin McNamee

Eoin McNamee - City of Time
I have been thinking about the transition from writing for adults to writing for children. Transition is probably the wrong word. Change of focus is probably closer–you adjust the lens a little and certain things become clearer, others go out of focus or are cut from the viewfinder. But there is more to it than that. In writing, I've found that a change of direction has a psychic trigger. Sometimes you go looking for the trigger and sometimes it just happens.

I was casting back recently, trying to find out what–apart from the obvious reason of having my own children–had set me on this course. And I realized that it originated in an incident–a ghostly incident if you like from about five years ago.

There's a village called Cong in County Mayo. It's well known as the setting for the John Huston film The Quiet Man. But apart from that, it is a beautiful place beside Lough Corrib, full of woods and old abbeys, underground rivers and lake islands. We went there on holidays as children and spent the summer cycling, fishing, swimming, and exploring from early in the morning until late at night. I loved it.

I remember my first visit. I was exploring the ruins of the abbey on my own when a gang of children appeared from nowhere. They had a football and invited me to join their game. We played into the dusk in the shade of ancient yew trees, bats wheeling overhead. Then, just as suddenly as they had appeared, they ran off laughing into the dark.

When I got back, the locals were puzzled. The children weren't from the village and there was nobody staying nearby that they knew of.

I tried going back to Cong as an adult, but it was a melancholy thing. There were too many memories, too many laughing faces now gone, too many ghosts. It was beautiful but sad.

I decided to give it one more try, this time with my wife and young daughter. I took Kathleen for a walk at the abbey before bed. The light was fading. Kathleen ran across the grass towards the yews and then, as before, a gang of children materialized from nowhere with a football. They beckoned to her and she joined in their game. They played on into the lengthening shadows while I watched from the steps of the abbey. To me, they seemed not just metaphorically but, in reality, to be the same children I had played with all those years ago; their laughing voices ringing out as they had before. And as I stood there I realized that the melancholy I had felt came not from the ghosts of others who were no longer there, but from the ghost that was myself as a child, a ghost who haunted these ancient stones.

As they had done before the children ran off into the darkness. Kathleen came back to me. It seems fanciful to think that they could have been my playmates from the past. All the same something happened in the dusk at Cong abbey. Something that put the man I had become back in touch with the boy that I had been. I knew who he was solitary and watchful. A boy who held himself just a little apart in company. A pale, wary face in the abbey shadows.

He was a reader and alert to other worlds in a way that is not available to an adult, and once I knew him again I could write for him. I don't know about other writers, but I am usually my own ideal reader, and now I knew that reader-man and boy.
Praise

Praise

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2008:
"Another walloping good read from a master of the trade."


From the Hardcover edition.

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