Ungar doesn’t do much to move the plot along but does lighten the tone and trot in some promising new characters for this follow-up to Time Snatchers (2012).
Caleb finds himself once again in the clutches of Uncle, a mad, Fagin-esque type in 2061 who snatches waifs from the timestream and trains them to steal important artifacts from various historical eras. Memories magically restored, Caleb is charged with training a team of young new recruits. As team members include strong-minded, street-wise con artist Razor and 10-year-old autistic tech whiz Dmitri, it’s much like herding cats—particularly as missions to snatch Newton’s apple, the first glass of Coca-Cola and other treasures are set up to fail by Caleb’s rival Frank, who schemes to wrest control of the organization from its bizarrely obsessive founder. Eventually Caleb and his hot fellow agent Abbie lead a rescue that leaves him, Abbie and Razor at least temporarily at peace and in safety and returns the other recruits to their original locales aboard a time-traveling subway car. Running gags and missions that devolve into comical chaos are pluses, but both Caleb and the story are left more or less where they began, and frequent allusions to the opener will cause new readers to flounder. Caleb’s wooden, present-tense narration doesn’t help matters.
For fans of the first book only. (Science fiction. 11-13)