In Throwback Thursday this week I’m revisiting something different ~ the first of the children’s fantasy trilogy, Outlaws of Time.
Outlaws of Time is a mix of adventure, legend and fantasy, set in the Arizona desert where twelve year old Sam Miracle is in foster care at the St Anthony of the Desert Destitute Youth Ranch (SADDYR) run by the Spaldings, who agreed ‘to guardian absolutely any boy the state of Arizona might be willing to send them (along with a check.)’ According to the Spaldings, Sam was the worst boy they’d ever fostered. Firstly because Sam got totally lost in powerful and detailed waking dreams. Dreams that seem so real they’re like recollections from his past, which confuses Sam no end. Added to that, the bones in Sam’s arms have been so damaged that they are incapable of movement, fused at the elbow, and sometimes very painful.
Sam’s friends at the facility look out for him, especially when his mind is wandering. In his dreams Sam is a courageous, gun-toting hero trying to save his sister, Millie, from El Buitre, or the Vulture as he is also known. Sam’s dreams never end well though, invariably he and/or his sister end up dead.
If you could stand still in time, you would feel it hissing around you like wind made of sand. If you had wings made for that wind, you could soar above the swirl of history as easily as a crow circles a hayfield. You could float just beyond the edge of every now; you could spread your time-gliding wings like two cold shadows over always. Priests would shiver when you passed. Dreams would scatter. Dogs would howl. Slow ghosts would trail behind you as you peered down into moment after moment, searching for your prey, searching for the one boy you had lost, for the boy who had been hidden in sometime.
Sam is a quirky and almost improbable hero, but altogether relatable for a boy with his problems. He discovers he has really lived his dreams, must stop an evil outlaw and that he can move through time. He and Glory Spalding, who acts as Sam’s memory and anchor, are drawn into incredible adventures and an eventual confrontation with El Buitre. Aided by Father Tiempo, a time travelling priest, and two Native American healers, Sam and Glory face an epic battle, with tough choices to make and huge difficulties to overcome.
The storyline is dark but with clearly defined boundaries between good and evil, the force for good is dominant, in both the narrative and the characterisation. And, although this is aimed at the preteen/young adult market, I think anyone who enjoys fantasy, incorporating everything mentioned which also includes destruction on a grand scale, revenge and terrible evil, would enjoy it. These issues are dealt with appropriately for younger readers. Great world building, characters, magic, snakes and infamous legends of the Old American West add to the enjoyment.
It’s an unusual take on time travel (creative but a little confusing at times) with the added historical wild west element, which spans centuries. Strong images are created by the descriptive writing, the setting and action scenes. This is the first of a series so the story isn’t wrapped up completely and will continue.
MacLeod Andrews does an outstanding job with the narration, with believable characterisations and voices which are defined and realistic throughout.
About the Book
This new fantasy-adventure series from N. D. Wilson, bestselling author of 100 Cupboards, pits a misfit twelve-year-old against a maniacal villain with a deadly vendetta. This one-of-a kind story is must read for fans of Brandon Mull and Soman Chainani, and the start of a thrilling tale from a masterful storyteller.
Sam Miracle’s life is made up of dreams, dreams where he’s a courageous, legendary hero instead of a foster kid with two bad arms that can barely move. Sometimes these dreams feel so real, they seem like forgotten memories. And sometimes they make him believe that his arms might come alive again.
But Sam is about to discover that the world he knows and the world he imagines are separated by only one thing: time. And that separation is only an illusion. The laws of time can be bent and shifted by people with special magic that allows them to travel through the past, present, and future. But not all of these “time walkers” can be trusted. One is out to protect Sam so that he can accept his greatest destiny, and another is out to kill him so that a prophecy will never be fulfilled. However, it’s an adventurous girl named Glory and two peculiar snakes who show Sam the way through the dark paths of yesterday to help him make sure there will be a tomorrow for every last person on earth.