Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day of the Assassins

Written by Johnny O'Brien
Most enjoyed by WWI fans in 6th through 8th grade

There are not many books, either fiction or non-fiction, available for young readers interested in World War I, although a few have popped up recently. 'Day of the Assassins' by Jack Christie is one of these titles that does a nice job of mixing the war, time travel, and mystery in one story.

Jack Christie never really knew his father. His mother, who left with Jack when he was young, has never told him much about the man. Now, Jack wishes she had, because he's discovered that his father is up to something. Something big. Something involving time travel and a chance to change history.

When Jack and his friend Angus get sent back in time to 1914 Austria, they are pursued not just by Jack's father's friend, but by members of VIGIL, an organization committed to making sure the time travel machine cannot change history. As they try to escape VIGIL, they meet a young woman who asks for their help in carrying out the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, the event that triggered the war. If Jack is able to stop the assassination, World War I will never happen, but should he stop it? What will happen to history if he does?

Filled with plenty of action to keep readers turning the page, 'Day of the Assassins' is a thriller wrapped up in history and seasoned with time travel. The author's notes in the back of the book provide factual information about the assassination plot, the political climate of the time, and what happened to the assassins afterward. Period photographs placed throughout help identify key historical figures. Great for historical fiction fans as well as those that like action novels, 'Day of the Assassins' is well worth the read.

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