Review Blog

Sep 03 2010

Time of Trial by Michael Pryor

cover image

Random House Australia, 2009.
Just as the university year comes to the end, and Aubrey's loyal friend George is (remarkably) making sixes during a game of cricket, an ensorcelled storm cloud concealing enemy forces causes massive disruption, dropping a magically enhanced depth charge right over the game. Aubrey would be dead except for the appearance of Kiefer, a suspicious character, who gifts him a Beccaria cage. This device brings Aubrey peace from the debilitating effects of his past brush with death Magic. (Or does it?)
Aubrey tries to assassinate his cousin the Prince whilst ensorcelled. The dastardly Dr Tremaine again seems to be the source of this and other unfolding events. So Aubrey and George travel to Holmland by train, on a mission to thwart Dr Tremaine. Aubrey is pushed out of the train by a member of an ancient secret group, only to fall into the hands of another rebel group.
The redoubtable Caroline joins them in their searches after an attempt is made to kill Mrs Fitzwilliam. Caroline, George and Aubrey are pulled into the half world of Dr Tremaine's comatose sister Sylvia. Just when they think they have solved the problem by containing Dr Tremaine in a pearl (too easy to be true), everything falls apart and war with Holmland seems inevitable.
Michael Pryor presents a world strangely parallel to our own at the politically unstable time just before the Great War. The only difference is that magic is a normal part of life, and Aubrey is adept with magic as others might be with languages or maths.
Secondary students who like adventure with a bit of magic will enjoy this exciting, eventful book.
S. Whittaker

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