Toby Sprocket and Sally Bunn, two 21st century teenagers, have accidentally travelled back in time four hundred years to the age of the first Stuart king, James 1st. Helped by two friendly strangers, they find themselves working alongside William Shakespeare and renowned theatre owner and actor Richard Burbage in the famous Globe Theatre at the very first production of The Winter’s Tale.
But the drama is not all on the stage. The two of them must fight an ongoing battle with a notorious and dangerous criminal who will ultimately decide their fate – to be or not to be!
Suitable for readers aged 9 to 12
Age Range: 10+
Size: 198mm x 129mm
Format: ‘B’ paperback
Pages: 224 pages
Word Count: 52,300
Published: June 2022
Moments later the four friends eagerly set about their tasks. And as soon as Toby reached Puddle Street, he was up to the attic in a flash. Loosening-up some floorboards next to the Mark 5, he carefully hid the chest away, and hammered the boards back in place.
Heading eastwards, and hugging the shadows as much as possible for safety, they rushed along lanes, alleys and backstreets, all of which lead exactly nowhere. Still they ran and ran, hoping against hope to find something, anything, that might help them to find their way home. Minutes or maybe even hours later, they couldn’t really tell by that stage, they stopped to catch their breath.
‘This is no use, Toby,’ said Sally, her heart thumping madly. ‘Maybe we should just turn back and start again?’
‘Yeah ok…maybe… ‘ Toby said, swivelling his terrified eyes left and right and up and down. ‘But let’s keep going for a little bit more.’
Not long after that, just when they were on the verge of turning back, they heard a commotion ahead.
‘Hear that?’ said Toby, taking a few hesitant steps forward ‘There’s definitely something happening around that next corner.’
When the temperature suddenly dropped and the dreaded prospect of sleeping outdoors again was becoming a reality, whole new kinds of fear swept over them. Time was rushing along, the rain kept falling, and great piles of darkness filled the streets. And still they hadn’t the foggiest idea what to do except stumble ahead and hope for the best. Eventually, shivering and sweating, they arrived at the mouth of an alley. In a far corner stood a terrace of derelict buildings. Rainwater tumbled down from a rusty drainpipe. They gulped at it heartily.
With her chin propped into her cupped hands, and her elbows planted on the desk, Sally was pondering the big lie Toby and boys had told her this morning. Even with those strands of hair pulled across his forehead, no amount of smiling and fibbing could hide that bruise. Clearly Toby had been in a fight with someone and lost. But she wasn’t too worried. She’d get the full story out of him eventually: she always did.
All of a sudden the office door swung open – and before she could think about Toby’s bruises for another second, a well-dressed man was striding towards her with a hand extended.
Later that night, when Inky’s snores trumbled round the house, a muffled activity had started-up in the attic. With Professor Sprockett’s notebook in hand and a candle flickering atop the Mark 5, Toby pulled open the engine cover and shoved his head into the belly of the machine. Very carefully he began disconnecting components and parts, and after he and Sally had checked, cleaned, and polished each piece, he just as carefully reconnected them.