Book review

The Navigator by Eoin McNamee (2006)

Some things never gravity perhaps, or the passage of time. Or do they?

Apparently, time can flow backwards. And it's thanks to the Resistors that we go about our daily lives without zapping backwards into non-existence. You may not be able to see them, but the Resistors are the custodians of time, and it is their job to protect us all against the Harsh, who seek to obliterate the present, by turning the clock back and returning the world to its primal solitude. It's a bitter battle, and hard fought.

Scary thought? Well, Owen's a bit baffled. He can see the Resistors. At least, he doesn't know he can see them, until he steps out through the door of his Den one day, and sees a small man standing before him, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. And the little man speaks:

'So,' he said, as if to himself, 'it is to be you. I suppose it had to be.'
Owen waited, suppressing the impulse to run. The man strode up to him and took him by the arm.
'We must hurry,' he said. 'We have a lot to do.

He's right. There is quite a lot to do. There's a sudden flash, covering the sky in an instant, and the land is plunged into a darkness like the total blackness before the world began. It seems that the Harsh have gained the upper hand:

'They have started the Puissance,' he said. 'the Great Machine in the North turns again and time is flowing backwards.'

...and Owen has a significant part to play in the battle that is to come, like his father before him, for he is the Navigator:

'The Navigator is Keeper of Mortmain. The Navigator is the faithful. The Navigator is the betrayer.'
'Betrayer?' Owen said, bewildered. 'I've never betrayed anybody.'

Well, maybe he will and maybe he won't. And he can't do any of it without the help of Cati.

Read it and see for yourself. Great stuff!

What can I read next?

This is Eoin McNamee's first book for young readers. If you enjoy meeting Owen and Cati, you can follow them on their next adventure in the sequel:

  • The Navigator
  • City of Time

Time obviously wobbles a fair bit in Ireland. If you'd like to explore problems with time some more, have a look at this enjoyable story by Kate Thompson:

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