I met this author recently, while he was visiting the Inner Hebrides researching his next book. As a former owner of a children's bookstore in Scotland I was asked to read and review Echo McCool, Outlaw Through Time.
Echo, the girl of the title is half-human half-dryad which, among other things, means she has stripy limbs, she can see into the past and she is adept at a kind of medieval Kung Fu.
After a long sleep she travels from her own time to the twenty-first century and meets Jason Fleeting, a modern-day boy her own age who has been living in a children's home following the murder of his mother. Jason and Echo set out on an adventure that involves the reader in several action scenes, including an escape from a collapsing tunnel and a grand punch-up of a finale. Echo and Jason even help out a few other people along the way, Lone Ranger-style.
This story combines a number of popular fiction genres to produce an interesting mix of present-day goodies-v-baddies adventure, a mystical element introducing dryad magic and links with times long-past, plus the all-action razzmatazz of Kung-Fu (with more than a little humour thrown in). Echo and Jason are both brave and likeable characters.
Will it be the next big thing? Who knows? Personally I think once established this book will prove to be quite popular.