________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 20. . . .January 24, 2014


Time Meddlers on the Nile.

Deborah Jackson.
Ottawa, ON: www.deborahjackson.net, 2012.
259 pp., trade pbk., $15.25.
ISBN 978-1-479343-06-5.

Grade 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Kerri Hutchinson.

*** /4



“Foolishness,” he said. “Dreams and impractical philosophy. How can we have artists, doctors, warriors, priests, or kings, if we don’t have slaves to attend them? How can we have monumental temples and tombs if we don’t have slaves to build them?”

“Right,” said Matt quietly, still feeling the ropes squeezing his wrists, choking his neck. He remembered feeling helpless and terrified as he’d lain on his stomach, his face pressed against the earth, knowing there was nothing he could do to escape.

“You shouldn’t interfere,” said his father’s voice in the back of his mind.

“You’re a meddling pest,” Nadine’s words echoed in his head. “I know what’s at stake.” That’s right. He knew. He’d always known. But somehow he couldn’t help himself.

“Taharqa,” he said. “We need to talk.”


Time Meddlers on the Nile is the third novel in the cross-genre “Time Meddler” series by Deborah Jackson. In this installment, readers follow 13-year-old Matt and his best friend Sarah as they try to rescue Matt’s father, Nathan Barnes, from the past. Nathan Barnes is one of Canada’s top scientists, and he has found the secret to time travel. Matt and Sarah have rescued him twice before, once from 17th century Canada and then from 1940s Europe. In Time Meddlers on the Nile, Matt’s father has travelled to Ancient Egypt during the time of the Nubian pharaohs. In his latest journey, Nathan has altered the course of history, and Matt and Sarah must go back to prevent him from erasing their own timeline.

     Time Meddlers on the Nile mixes historical fiction and science fiction to explore a lesser known kingdom in Ancient Egypt. Matt is the natural leader, often encouraging Sarah, but he can be brash. Sarah is book smart, but she’s meek, and she is a worrier. When Matt and Sarah become separated, their distinct personalities influence the narration which is divided between the two. There is also a budding romance between Matt and Sarah that becomes clear once the two characters have been separated from one another, Matt with the Nubian prince Taharqa and Sarah with the Medjay raider Qeskaant. Matt and Sarah are able to prevent Matt’s father from erasing their timeline in the future, and the series is left open for a possible fourth novel.

     Jackson doesn’t provide a lot of background information of the series, and readers would benefit from reading the previous two novels, Time Meddlers and Time Meddlers Undercover, to help develop context of the series long story arcs. The book features a historical note at the end and a reader’s discussion section which are nice additions with potential to be used as teaching tools. Readers expecting the novel to delve into the historical landscape of the pyramid building ancient Egypt because of the title and cover art may be initially disappointed because of the Nubian storyline. In the historical notes, Jackson states she chose to illustrate the connection between our lives and those of a distant, remote, lesser known people and how changes in their lives could impact our own. Her explanation for focussing on the Nubian dynasty is refreshing, and the history appears to be well-researched.

     Time Meddlers on the Nile is an entertaining is blend of historical fiction and science fiction that will appeal to readers of both genres.


Kerri Hutchinson is a library technician with the Region of Waterloo in Waterloo, ON.

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