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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars

on 3 November 2013
Book review "OUT OF TIME" books 1 and 2- THE SECRET OF THE SWAN, and RAVEN"S HOARD
The author Gill Jepson is a local and knows her local history. She also understands young people and writes with authority about the legend and folklore of the surrounding locale, resulting in an absorbing mystical journey that will satisfy readers of all ages, lovers of history and fans of a jolly good read.
In Out Of Time 1- the Secret of The Swan, we meet Rebecca, a young teenager living at home with her family, and coming to terms with the recent loss of her grandfather. Rebecca has all the normal ups and downs of modern life until one day events become decidedly NOT normal and the readers are introduced to a series of strange happenings surrounding Rebecca and her friends Danny and Megan
In Out Of Time 2-Raven's Hoard, we meet Nate, a 15 year old who is given an opportunity to follow his passion for archaeology and soon is drawn into a world where there are secrets and a mystery that no one, until now, has solved. Vikings, secret burials, a sacred sword and again new friendships made with people from the past underpin the fabric of this tale.
Both books are connected as part of a series, but are complete and can be read as stand-alone.
Real places, historical and present, feature in this tale of mystery, hidden treasure and good versus evil. Some down to earth present day scenarios are seamlessly interwoven with transportation into another time by the characters who find themselves inadvertent time travellers. They meet people from the past (but are some of them really from the distant past?) and learn about their lives while following a quest for treasure that belongs to the abbey but has been stolen. The young people discover things about themselves and about life as they find themselves drawn into helping to find and recover the mysterious secret of the swan, (book 1) and the sacred sword (book 2).
The books centre around Furness Abbey, a Cistercian monastery dating back to 1123, the ruins of which you can find, and which still stands quietly today in the Vale of Deadly Nightshade, in Furness Cumbria.
As a central plot location this is a superb backdrop and can be seen as part of the detail on the book's cover. Although in ruins now, the abbey has born witness to centuries of monarchs, religion, monks, scribes, taxes, trade and smugglers, and some of this rich historical tapestry we are invited to see in the pages of this book.
Although the abbey is the centrepiece of the story, other real local landmarks and buildings are described and are part of the story;
Dalton castle (a fourteenth century manorial courthouse which belonged to the Abbey) is still standing today, although in an altered state from the original. .The romantic looking Piel island, an old Motte and Bailey ruin is on a small island off the coast, and can be visited by ferry from Roa island, which is itself a part of the mainland but accessible only by causeway from the village of Rampside. These settlements are on the shores of Morecambe Bay, a pretty tidal estuarine bay, surrounded by south Lakeland fells, ancient churches such as St Cuthbert's at Aldingham, and with dangerous quicksands belying its seemingly innocuous charm.
.These places are all mentioned in the book and can be visited for real on your own travellers discovery of Out of time personal tour, or for many of us history buffs who live a long way away, on a virtual tour- thanks be to internet search engines!
If you are trying to encourage a young person to take an interest in history, or if you yourself want to recapture some of the magic of unexplained mysteries, look no further. The books explore the connections we make with the past, with people and with places. A sprinkling of nostalgia for bygone eras spiced up with unexplained phantoms, spectres and time travel, with a background of solid historical detail, all held together by a very human adventure story which was interesting, exciting and in places quite moving. An entertaining read with a somewhat dreamlike quality to the narrative, out of time books 1 and 2 can be a valuable teaching resource as well as a lovely absorbing read for all ages. Looking forward to the next book in this series!
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on 4 April 2015
Raven’s Hoard is the second instalment in the Out of Time series written by Gill Jepson. After reading the first book, The Secret of the Swan, aloud as a family we were very much looking forward to continuing the story with Raven’s Hoard. We were not disappointed! Told from the point of view of an older child gave this book a slightly different feel which kept the story fresh. We are introduced to new characters and new places while remaining in the original setting in and around the town of Barrow-in-Furness. There is plenty of history wound throughout the story and I even learnt some new things about the area in which I live! I particularly like the way that Gill Jepson writes her characters and in particular the children, these are characters which children can relate to, allowing them to place themselves within the story and experience all the more vividly. As a child I was a big fan of the Famous Five by Enid Blyton and reading these books takes me back to the way I felt reading those, full of mystery and adventure, albeit with less ginger beer and jam sandwiches! As well as being thoroughly entertaining these books give children a glimpse of the way things were in different periods in history, making them come alive in a way that a text book doesn’t. We very much enjoyed Raven’s Hoard and we can’t wait to see where the story goes next!
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on 14 October 2013
I really enjoyed this children's fiction and was particularly interested in the historical aspect. The author has done her research into the local area and its legends very well. The book often flicks from one timeline to another and I would definitely recommend this book for the 9+ years it is marketed at for that reason as it could be confusing for a younger child.

Nate loves archaeology and is delighted when the leader of a local dig agrees he can help. Quickly thrown into a mystery, which spans generations of his family, he pieces together an ancient puzzle involving skulls, swords, Vikings, Saxons and monks. Thrown back in time, he gets to see what his village looked like centuries ago and even gets to meet some of his ancestors who help him with his quest to find the powerful artefacts he must keep out of the hands of those who would misuse them.

It's a great children's story, well written and fun, with an eye to the youth of today but still maintaining an old fashioned adventure of old too. Kind of reminded me of being curled up on my own grandmother's lap as she read Enid Blyton to me.

Although this is part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone very easily
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on 20 January 2013
Gill Jepson is an author after my own heart in as much as we both like to play around with time. She does so to great effect, in this fast paced adventure.I love the way that she has obviously spent a lot of time and effort in researching the local history and settings, so that anyone who reads her Out of Time series can actually visit the locations, and get a real feel for the characters and the history. Time travel. smugglers, ghosts, magic - this has it all. Anyone who reads this will become totally immersed in the story, and will find themselves empathising with the well written characters in this terrific adventure.
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on 1 May 2014
I bought both these books because I thought they would encourage my grand children to read as we live close to the Abbey that is in the book. I must say the children had to wait until I had read them. Gill has opened my eyes about the area I have lived in formany years and thought I knew the history.Facinating....Bring on book 3...
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on 27 August 2015
wow, a wonderfully written book for young people but equally enjoyabe by all ages. the author Gill Jepson has spent some considerable time and effort into researching the history of her setting and the author's licence of local setting is delightful. Gill Jepson has incorporated references of dealing with loss and coming to terms with it quite beautifully for young people to understand the emotions attached to them. the adventures of Nate, the main character, are both informative and fun. i will be buying the first and the next book.
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on 3 November 2014
Another excellent book by this talented author.Informative, interesting and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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on 20 February 2013
I really enjoyed Gill's second book in the Out of Time series. It is well paced, has really interesting characters and plenty of action. She describes the locations so vividly you easily become absorbed in the story. I particularly like the time travelling elements of the story. I would recommend this book to young and old alike, an excellent read.
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on 20 February 2015
A brilliant second book following up from the Secret of the Swan. The story is a fun adventure from the outset. I highly reccomend it to anyone.
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on 7 February 2013
This book is as brilliant as the first one. The storyline and the characters are so believable and you find yourself engrossed in their lives. Read it yourself, get your children to read it or read it to them, you won't be disappointed!
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