Work Title: Time Bomb
Work Author(s): Nigel Hinton
288 pages, Hardcover $15.95
Reviewer: Troy-Michelle Reinhardt
Oaths in blood, bombs, mystery, family strife, discrimination, boyhood bonds---individually they each create an interesting theme for a middle-grade novel. Mix them all together and the end result is Time Bomb. Set in post-war Britain during the summer of 1949, the novel chronicles the experiences of Andy and his three friends, Eddie, Manny, and Bob.
The opening lines foreshadow the seriousness that will follow the sweet picture of the last days before summer for these four eleven-year-old boys. "I've never told this story to anyone," says Andy, "because when I was twelve I swore an oath in blood that I would never tell it. But the friends I swore it with are dead now, so it's time to break that oath and tell the truth." The first chapter then relates the tale of Andy's memory of that last day of school before summer break. The art project, the crush on his teacher, his happy memories all then overshadowed by his friend Eddie being disciplined unfairly.
School gets out and the boys spend their days playing in an abandoned bombed-out building. The site holds a feeling of intrigue and ghosts. Among the many discoveries the boys find there is an unexploded bomb. It becomes almost an idol to worship, creating excitement, fear, and a strange sense of empowerment.
Loyalty and friendship between the boys is tested when the character "Cap" enters the story. Andy and Eddie are enthralled with his stories...