This was one of those books that I judged by its cover. That and the obvious subject matter of time travel (a favorite of mine). I was very excited to read it, and it didn't completely disappoint. It is definitely geared toward boys, I would say more like 13 years and up. The subject matter can't help but contain violence and some disturbing concepts, so not for the easily freaked out.
Nick is a sailor at heart, and he lives on a quaint little island in the English Channel. In a lighthouse. Okay, I love lighthouses. The idea of living in one is really cool... and Bell makes it quaint and not creepy, which was great (they have the potential to be creepy, dontcha think?) In the early days of WWII, before England was officially at war, rumors were flying about this amazing submarine the Nazi's had apparently invented. Nick ends up spotting one, and nothing is the same after that.
He and his little sister get embroiled in an adventure filled with tense moments -- discovering the secret hideout of the famous island recluse, run-ins with infamous Nazi's and pirates alike, and secret missions from Winston Churchill himself.
Bell is a former ad guy, and much like another famous ad guy turned novelist (James Patterson), he knows how to hook an audience and string them along page after page. I enjoyed this read, but a fan of war I'm not. There was a little too much detail in the battles, but I can see teenage boys loving it.
It's pretty obvious there's a book two in the works, which I'd probably read just to see where Bell takes Nick next and if/how he plans to link this series with his Alex Hawke series...
I give it 3.75 bookmarks. Visit www.tedbellbooks.com. He posted his interview with Glenn Beck, about what a great book it is for boys. Check it out!