Hope travels to Scotland to meet her deceased mother’s family and finds herself involved in time travel.
The remote Highlands manor house owned by her mother’s family turns out to be situated on an underground chamber that’s “something like a miniature wormhole.” Hope learns that her mother, thought killed in an earthquake, actually has been lost in 1154 London. Hope has a photographic memory and has easily memorized much of the history of the period and so needs little preparation for a trip to London in 1154 with companions Phoebe and Collum. Once there, she has little difficulty with the language but almost immediately becomes lost. She meets Rachel, a Jewish girl, severely persecuted in that time but who provides medicine to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Through Queen Eleanor, Hope finds her mother, but she also makes an immediate enemy of the powerful (and here villainous) Thomas à Becket. The group also dreams of finding the Nonius Stone, a large opal that will allow them to better control their time travels—and that a rival time-traveling group allied with Becket also wants the stone. Taylor’s adventure is fairly standard, but her depiction of 1154 is satisfyingly alien. Though she cuts linguistic and historical corners, she vividly describes the smelly, dirty, cold, and dangerous medieval period, lifting the book above the average.
Decent suspense with some painless history on the side. (Science fiction. 12-18)