Gideon the Cutpurse

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Gideon the Cutpurse
First edition cover
Author Linda Buckley-Archer
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Gideon Trilogy
Genre Children's
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
5 June 2006
Pages 384
ISBN 978-1-4169-1655-0
OCLC 64555644
Followed by The Tar Man

Gideon the Cutpurse, published in the US as The Time Travelers, is a 2006 science fiction novel by Linda Buckley-Archer, and is the first book in the The Gideon Trilogy. This series was also called the Enlightenment of Peter Schock.

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel focuses on the adventures of Peter Schock and Kate Dyer in 1763 after being accidentally transported there by an anti-gravity machine while chasing Molly, Kate's dog. It has been praised for its excellent description of everyday living conditions in 18th century England. Along with being an enlighting read for children it also gives valuable information on the eighteenth century.

Plot summary[edit]

The novel focuses on the adventures of Peter Schock and Kate Dyer in 1763 after they are accidentally transported there by an anti-gravity machine while chasing Molly, Kate's dog. They awoke in the eighteenth century to see their time machine being carted away by a dark character known as the 'Tar Man', or "Blueskin". Soon, they meet a man called Gideon Seymour, who helps them adjust to life in the eighteenth century. He takes them to the Byng residence where they stay until they are able to track down the lost anti-gravity machine. With the help of Gideon, Mrs. Byng, Sir Richard, Parson, Sidney, Hannah and Jack they are able to travel to London.

Although the Parson initially distrusts Gideon, he is eventually won over by Gideon's honor and courage when he saves the group from highwaymen. Gideon eventually tells the story of his association with Lord Luxon and the Tar Man. Gideon explains to Peter that he met with Lord Luxon shortly after his fifteenth birthday. His parents and some of his siblings had died many years ago leaving only Gideon and his younger brother, Joshua. Forced into a life of servitude in order to stay alive, Gideon finally made up his mind to run away and, thus earn enough money to send for his brother to join him. After he escaped, Gideon found himself without any resources and decided to steal for food. When he is caught, his life is spared only by the wealth and influence of Lord Luxon.

While in London they meet King George III and Queen Charlotte. Lord Luxon and The Tar Man (Blueskin) are in London trying to stop the children going home. To get the anti-gravity machine back from Tar Man, Gideon offers to race him to the Tempest House for the anti-gravity machine. The Parson fed the Tar Man's horse certain herbs to make it sick during the race, and the Tar Man attacked Gideon. Gideon won the race, but was forced to forfeit when he learned that the Parson had cheated though The Tar Man had also cheated. Lord Luxon had him accused of crimes he did not commit and sent him to Newgate Prison.

While Kate and Peter try to help Gideon, Kate's father appears with her dog. While the children catch up with Dr. Dyer on events in both centuries, Gideon is tried and sentenced to death by hanging. Kate and Peter save him by pulling an unusual stunt and setting him free. They encounter the Tar Man once again and as Peter says good-bye to Gideon, The Tar Man runs toward the anti-gravity machine. The anti-gravity machine then leaves for the 21st century and The Tar Man and Peter switch places. Peter is now stuck in 1763 without Kate.


Susan Shaver reviewing for Library Media Connection said that the novel was "full of wonderful description, unique historical English terminology, and lots of British flavor, the events of the first book in this time-travel trilogy will surely captivate and hold young readers."[1] Melissa Moore reviewing for the School Library Journal praised the novel saying "history interweaves with science, social issues in both centuries are thrown in; yet what readers will remember most is a fast-paced plot with a cliff-hanger ending and multidimensional characters who continue to inhabit their thoughts long after the book is closed. With appeal for reluctant and advanced readers, this novel is a rare gem."[2] Kristi Elle Jemtegaard reviewing the audiobook for Horn Book Magazine described it as "breakneck plotting, pungent descriptions studded with vivid period details (like the carpet of lice on the floor of Newgate prison), and the desperate plight of the two children trapped in another century give Doyle ample opportunity to display his dramatic skills. The last-minute change of heart that sets up the sequel in the final moments will leave listeners anxious for more."[3] Gideon the Cutpurse was shortlisted for the 2007 Branford Boase Award.[4]

The Time Thief[edit]

Kate and Peters father try to rescue Peter, but land in 1792, 29 years forward. Meanwhile, the Tar Man is getting used to the twenty- first century. The Tar Man finds a guide in the twenty- first century, a girl named Anjali. Tom also arrives in the twenty- first century (due to the time machine) and is found by the Tar Man. A shocking connection is discovered of two enemies. The book ends with a cliffhanger, and the time quakes have begun.

Time Quake[edit]

Kate and Peter try to get back to the present with the help of Gideon; and inexplicably, the Tar Man! Meanwhile, Lord Luxon tries to change history for America to still be in British power by murdering president George Washington! Kate is growing more transparent each day until she completely disappears, taking Lord Luxon with her. In the end, Peter, Gideon, and Nathaniel go back to the first time traveling event;and stop it. The Peter and Gideon once knew ceased to exist and everything went back to normal. Before Gideon and Nathaniel disappeared, they destroyed the anti-gravity machine. Yet, they leave behind a few mysteries.


  1. ^ Shaver, Susan (November 2006). "Gideon the Cutpurse: Being the First Part of the Gideon Trilogy". Library Media Connection 25 (3): 74. ISSN 1542-4715. 
  2. ^ Moore, Melissa (July 2006). "Gideon the Cutpurse: Being the First Part of the Gideon Trilogy". School Library Journal 52 (7): 97. ISSN 0362-8930. 
  3. ^ Jemtegaard, Kristi Elle (January 2007). "Gideon the Cutpurse". Horn Book Magazine 83 (1): 90. ISSN 0018-5078. 
  4. ^ "BBA Past Winners". Branford Boase Award. Retrieved 2009-01-27. [dead link]