My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read this book first, before it's predecessor, The Shadow Project. It's the first time a book sent me on a mission to finds it's prequel. Turns out this is even better than the first book, all the suspence and pace with none of the confusion.
The three teens from the first book are joined by a new member, Fuchsia, with a new power, one she is still developing. The four British teens working for MI6 find their way from Britain to New York where they are to investigate a long-forgotten CIA experiment in time travel, one that never really died. Seems you can rip a hole in the space-time continuum, but you can't put it back together again even when you shut off the power.
Just as the teen Shadow Project crew determine there is no danger at the site of the rip, danger appears, in the form of a box a military man opens to unleash a virulent plague, one that kills in less than a day and leaves billions at risk unless the kids, who have been vaccinated, go through the rip into 1962 to stop the man who will eventually unleash that plague on the 21st century. The catch - that man is a CIA agent who doesn't know what he will do in the future. The other catch - if they can't persuade him they have to kill him.
The kids end up back in the height of the cold war, travel to Russia, and end up captured and interrogated by the KGB and a pair of torturing twins you never want to meet in a dark alley. Young readers will see the height of the Cold War for the first time, older readers will revisit the dark days before the Cuban Missile Crisis, and see an alternate scenario that would have plunged the world into nuclear war before those dark days in October. One member of the Shadow Project team is an African prince, and he gets to see a touch of 1962 racism as well. Fuchsia’s developing power reveals that the 21st century plague they were sent to stop has to take second place to a nuclear holocaust due to begin in weeks and plunge the world into an alternate future in which they and billions more are dead.
It’s a high-stakes story, a true cross-over book, one that middle grade, young adult and adult readers will all enjoy.
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