The two main characters are Nick and Kate McIver. It is 1939, and World War II is on the verge of breaking out. Graybeard Island, the small island where Nick and Kate live, is a center of espionage on the German submarines that are threatening Channel boats. Nick and his father are engaged in the dangerous job of spying and reporting on German movements in the area. Unfortunately Nazis aren't the only threat to Nick and his family. Nick discovers a strange sea chest with his name on it. It contains a time traveling device and a plea for help that came from the past. At the same time two dangerous characters arrive from the past, determined to gain control of Nick's time machine.
Soon Nick and Kate are involved in two different but equally dangerous adventures. Nick travels backward in time to help one of his ancestors. The fate of the entire English fleet is at stake if Nick can't help Captain Nicholas navigate the reefs around Graybeard Island. Complicating matters, a mutinous captain and pirate named Billy Blood is determined to steal Nick's time machine and destroy the very ship that Nick is trying to save.
Meanwhile Kate joins the side of two scientific detectives that are fighting the Nazi's. They discover that the Germans have created a super powered submarine that will play a key role in their planned invasion. Unfortunately they are captured by the Nazi's. On board the top secret submarine they must do more than survive themselves: they have to ensure that others learn about Germany's secret weapon.
“Nick of Time” has plenty of action, with thrilling cliff hangers as author Ted Bell switches back and forth between the adventures of Nick and Kate. The strong point of “Nick of Time” is its plot. The storyline is very well designed, with enough details to keep it interesting for readers. Unfortunately, some of the characters come off rather cliché, the Nazis in particular. In addition, some of the character reactions in the book seem exaggerated to the point of being almost ridiculous. But all considered, “Nick of Time” should make a thrilling read for the junior audience that it was designed for.
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