Back to the Dark Ages!
by Richard Sloane
Trafford Publishing

"But time means something completely different now that you have traveled through it."

Two 11-year-old children, June and August, live in a seaside town on England's East Coast. A carnival comes through during the summer and sets up near the pier. The two children get permission from their parents to go to the carnival one day after school. They see and hear a lot of activity: crowds, noise, carnival barkers, cotton candy, slot machines and various rides. As they walk away from the main area, they notice how quiet it has become. They see a carousel in the background, away from the other rides, and walk toward it.

They each select a horse and realize they are the only two on the carousel. The ride starts spinning backwards, faster and faster, but neither child gets dizzy. They are propelled through some sort of invisible barrier, while still on their carousel horses, and land gently and discover that their horses are real. They are back in 731 A.D., the Dark Ages!

As the children become acquainted with their surroundings and customs, the story gradually introduces the new time period. The author equally portrays the uncertainty, trust, and learning new skills like sword fighting from the children's point of view, as well as the curiosity and acceptance they experience from the people in the 8th century. As they help a monk by delivering valuable manuscripts to a king, the reader is introduced to the types of musical instruments, foods, and clothing of that time.

The book is suitable for children between 10 to 12 years of age and is a cross between the legends of King Arthur and the time travel books by C.S. Lewis. The author has crafted an enjoyable fantasy filled with a mix of fiction and history.

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