Day of the Assassins by Johnny O’Brien is a fast-paced time travel adventure set within an accurate historical context. It takes fifteen year-old Jack Christie and his friend Angus to the period just before the outbreak of the First World War. Following a desperate chase across Europe the adventure climaxes in Sarajevo, on the day of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Here, Jack must make an agonising choice with momentous implications for himself, his family and for humanity.
The first thing you notice about Day of the Assassins is its stunning hardback cover, complete with bullet holes. And the attention to presentation doesn't stop with the cover..... inside the front and book covers you will find a map of 1914 Europe and a timeline respectively. And the story doesn't disappoint either. It is very much in a similar vein to the "Boy's Own" adventure stories of yesteryear, updated for a generation brought up on a diet of computer games and hi-technology. In simplest terms, it is a hugely enjoyable adventure story. However, there is much more to this story than just another time-travel adventure. Johnny O'Brien has clearly researched the events running up to the start of the Great War, and manages to weave his story seamlessly in with the actual events and real-life personalities of the time. Jack and Angus have to go through some agonising decisions and Johnny O'Brien carries this off very well, without sounding obviously moralistic.
The feedback from some of the boys at school has been very positive so far, especially as they have been looking at the First World War in their history lessons. Their only criticism was that the technological aspects of the book were less believeable and a little unoriginal, but this didn't affect their enjoyment of the book at all. The author has promised more Jack Christie books and we are all eagerly awaiting the sequel.