Johnny Maxwell and his friends find a bag-lady semi-conscious in an alley only to discover she somehow seems to hold the key to different times, different eras -- including the Blackbury Blitz in 1941.
Old bag lady Mrs. Tachyon is considered nuts but harmless, pushing around an enormous trolley full of bags and a mangy cat. One day she's found unconscious and beaten in a street; after Johnny and his pals have her taken to a hospital, they put her trolley in Johnny's garage for safekeeping. But Johnny soon finds that the trolley has more than garbage -- there's a new newspaper dated from decades ago.
Before you can say "what the disc!", Johnny and his friends (dignified Yo-less, wannabe-nerd Bigmac, abrasive Kristy, and not-so-dignified Wobbler) are whisked back in time to 1941. At first they're intrigued by the weirdness of the old place, but things take a nasty turn: Bigmac is arrested, while Wobbler is first harassed by a bratty kid and then accidently left behind. When Johnny and his pals reappear, they soon discover that their brief trip back in time has completely messed up the timeline...
This book is more complex than "Johnny and the Dead" and better-written than "Only You Can Save Mankind." Pratchett's quirky characters, occasional social commentary and funny speculation (the trouser-legs-of-time description is the best time description you can find). The appearance of the elderly Wobbler is a stroke of genius, as is the "... I'm a Muslim" joke that serves an important part of the plot.
Pratchett's writing is clearer and quirkier here than before.Read more ›