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Book Review

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Tim: Defender of the Earth


Author: Sam Enthoven
RRP: £5.99
ISBN: 978 0 552 55359 9
Available 02 April 2009

Three seemingly unrelated events happened in a short space of time, but we know from the six degrees of separation that nothing is really unrelated. The first thing that happened was that David Sinclair, the new Prime Minister, discovered that a large part of the nation’s wealth has been poured into a super soldier project, who’s only product was a rather large and hormonally challenged teenage tyrannosaurus Rex. Sinclair quickly pulls the plug on the project. The second odd event is that fourteen year old Chris Pitman, on a trip to the British Museum, encounters an odd woman who places a bangle on his wrist that he can’t get off. He is only in this position because of a rather brutal rejection by Anna Mallahide, whose father is about to make a breakthrough in nano-technology, thanks to the funding so quickly removed from the T Rex project. These three seemingly unrelated events will see Tim (Tyrannosaurus: Improved Model) form an alliance with Anna and Chris against her well meaning, but quite mad, father...

Tim: Defender of the Earth is a new teenage novel from Sam Enthoven, whose previous novel, The Black Tattoo; gained much critical praise - the audio book version won a Publishers Weekly "Listen Up" Award in 2006.

In his new novel Enthoven has moved away from the horror genre of his previous book into the realms of science fiction/fantasy with his story of one boy and his dinosaur. One of the biggest problems of writing for a sophisticated teenage audience is where to pitch your narrative. Too many books talk down to their audience, but not in the case of Tim. Whimsical it may be, but the characters feel very real. Sam does not hold back in either the vocabulary he uses or the real concerns of his characters.

The pace of the book is brisk, hardly pausing to smell the flowers, Sam takes his readers on a fun filled roller coaster ride which owes more than a little to Godzilla. The style is very visual, which helps draw the audience into this wacky world. Its London setting and descriptive narrative would certainly lend itself to a great popcorn movie. It might appear at first viewing that this is a shallow book, and whilst it is true that it appears to possess little in the way of a subtext, its attention to detail and language will subtlety introduce its reader to the art of good writing.

At the start of the book Chris is our unlikely hero, full of teenage angst, he is the very unlikely defender of the Earth; he desperately wants to be cool but is never quite able to pull it off, a problem to young adults everywhere.  My favourite character didn’t turn out to be Chris or Tim, but Anna, who possesses an underlying melancholy. Far in advance of her years, this makes her a good foil for what are essentially a couple of slightly dim teenage boys - a melancholy which is increased when her slightly deranged father, Professor Mallahide, gives himself over to his own technology, even to the point of being consumed by it.

Overall this is well worth reading. What’s not to like? It’s perfectly pitched for its audience with dinosaurs, mad scientists and a set of believable character, which you will come to like and care for.


Charles Packer

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