William (who received THE CASTLE IN THE ATTIC) is now approaching his 12th birthday, but dreading the townkids' dangerous rite of passage called Jumping the Trains. Although skilled in tumbling and gymnastics, he feels outclassed by Jason, his best friend, who is both taller and more athletic (on a bike). He secretly mourns the fact that he is shorter, fearing that his stature will predestin him to failure in the world.
Then William receives a special gift from Mrs. Phillips, his former nanny now living back in England. Although she had promised to destroy the statue of the evil wizard, Alastor, she changed her mind about disposing of the special Token. This coin depicting two-headed Janus possesses dramatic magical powers. Wiilliam confides the secret of his neglected castle in the attic to Jason, who is eager to make the trek through space and time to reach the medieval world, but not without some modern conveniences: two bikes, a flashlite and;
Their return is timely, for Sir Simon's realm is threatened by a floating horror; a skeleton ship inhabited by fierce rats. Accompanied by young Tolliver, who learns to ride a bike, and 12-year-old Gudrin, the boys undertake to rid the land of the nauseating rodent meance. But how much can one trust a fool--a court jester named Deegan? Is it wise of Sir Simon to depart for a tournament despite the ominous warning signs,
leaving the castle in such youthful hands? This sequel is light and fast-paced. One wonders if Winthrop will consider a third one, before the boys are too old for such fantasy games. Even if she does not, heed crypic messages, trust in feminine clairvoyance and don't forget to treasure your old toys!