Who was the mysterious Hector Lightfoot? What was he up to when he disappeared, and who were the two ghosts once seen in his house? School friends Jamie and Todd are destined to find out when they go to London to spend a weekend with Jamie’s Uncle Simon, who now lives in that very house. Soon after they arrive, Jamie has a frightening encounter with the two ghosts. Hector, a veteran from the First Afghan War, joined a covert expedition to China, and afterwards worked on a secret Government project in an underground lab at the British Museum. He vanished suddenly, and was never heard from again. Simon takes the boys to the lab, where they find a strange contraption – which, unknown to any of them, is a time-travel device. When the building is struck by lightning, the device is energized, and sends the boys back in time to the year 1862. There, surrounded by danger and exposed to disease, they are sucked into a life of crime in order to survive. Only if they can find Hector will they have any chance of getting home again, but he’s gone into hiding. As Jamie and Todd struggle to find him, Jamie becomes convinced that the two ghosts he saw earlier are following them…
Richard Smith’s motto is: Never give up; it can happen. And his first book, Time Trap, is proof of that.
Born in London, the youngest of three children, Richard has loved writing stories since he was nine; and regularly got top marks for his essays at school – where his favourite subject was English. After leaving school, he worked in a succession of dead-end jobs. None brought him as much satisfaction as writing – which he kept up, with his mother’s constant encouragement. Richard credits her father, a taxi driver, who enjoyed writing as a hobby, for his talent with words.
Researching and writing Time Trap took many years of hard work – which Richard describes as a labour of love. One of his proudest moments came when he returned to his junior school to read extracts of the story to 9-year-old pupils, who loved it. He polished up the MS, self-published in 2012, and created the Time Trap Trail for young readers to follow and convinced both the British Museum and the Museum of Childhood to stock the book.
Another success has been finally finding a job he enjoys – working as a building manager, which gives him the opportunity to work on his second book: The Darziod’s Stone.
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Imagine reading a book, then visiting the very places where the story happened; it would almost be like going on a virtual-reality tour. With Time Trap, you can do just that, and see the London locations where this exciting adventure is set.
The Trail is an adventure, too – but not just anyone can go on it. You will have to read the story first, and find in it two keywords that will unlock the code, and allow access. So read the book, crack the code and follow in Jamie’s and Todd’s footsteps as they were hurled back to 1862, when the streets of London were shrouded with smog, and danger lurked at every turn.
Following the Time Trap Trail will show you a very different London – one that few may know. You’ll visit the scenes of all the crimes that Jamie and Todd were involved in when they had to join the Holton Gang, and see where the gang’s hideout was. You’ll go to the church they took refuge in, and find the location of the Secret Operations Bureau by the Thames. (And beside the river will be a great spot to stop and enjoy a packed lunch!) On the Trail, you will also see the real Temple Bar, which has been moved from its original spot. You’ll follow the getaway route the boys took when Billy stole the case from the coaching inn. And you’ll get to see magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral – and many, many more locations featured in the book. Plus, there’s an added guide to other attractions along the way.
Although not all the landmarks in the book are still here, while you travel around London, you will learn more about the city. See the contrasting parts of the metropolis – the grand buildings of Bloomsbury, including Bedford Square and the British Museum; the bridges over the River Thames, and the big, bustling shops on Oxford Street.
There are two Time Trap Trails. ‘The Trail’ which will take around 1.5 hours to complete and is perfect for school trips or those short on time! Then there is ‘The Grand Trail’, which will take about 5 hours. This is for the adventurers among you and is a full day out. These times are without taking breaks, so factor this in to your day. You’ll need sharp eyes too – because on each Trail through London, there are questions for you to answer relating to some locations. If you complete the quiz correctly you’ll receive a certificate.