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Day of the Assassins: A Jack Christie Adventure    by Johnny O'Brien order for
Day of the Assassins
by Johnny O'Brien
Order:  USA  Can
Templar, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Johnny O'Brien's Day of the Assassins, the first in a time travel series starring Jack Christie and his best friend Angus, brings history alive. Jack lives with his mother in Cairnfield, Scotland. His father left them years before - they haven't seen him since but he sends annual birthday presents. Jack and Angus attend a private school, where Dr. Pendelshape has been teaching them about the first World War.

They learn that the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo set in motion events that led to the outbreak of the war, in which eight million people died. Soon afterwards, Dr. Pendelshape shows them a time machine (Jack's father was one of its inventors) and tells them about a group named VIGIL (headquartered in their school) that is determined to control time travel and to prevent accidents that might change the future. Opposing VIGIL is a group led by Jack's father, that wants to use the technology to improve the world.

After their time travel education is interrupted by VIGIL agents, Jack sends himself back in time to escape them, pursued by school janitors Tony and Gordon. Jack stows away on a Dreadnought, hitches a ride in a hot air balloon, crash lands in the Alps, and is imprisoned in a castle. There's a cable car escape, pursuit, and a boat trip that eventually takes Jack to Austria and a difficult decision. Should he do what his father wants and try to prevent the Archduke's assassination or follow his own conscience?

In A Word from the Author at the back of the book (where he also include background summaries on the war), Johnny O'Brien speaks of his grandfather's WW I medals, and of the important choices we all make every day, saying 'you need to try and choose well - because whatever you do, it could change the future.' I look forward to seeing where in time he sends Jack Christie and Angus in their next exciting adventure.

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