The Storm Begins by Damian Dibben

Rating 8.2/10
Reading it left me breathless, I don't think I've ever read a faster-paced book.

Imagine if you lost your parents - not just in place, but in time.

Jake Djones' mum and dad have gone missing and they could be anywhere in the world - at any time in history. Because the Djones family have an astonishing secret, which for years they've managed to keep - even from each other. They belong to the History Keepers: a secret society which travels through the centuries to prevent evil enemies from meddling with history itself.

In the quest to find his parents, Jake is whisked from 21st century London to 19th century France, the headquarters of the mysterious History Keepers, where he discovers the truth about his family's disappearance - and the diabolical Prince Zeldt's plan to destroy the world as we know it...

The Storm Begins is the début novel of former actor and screenwriter Damian Dibben. The hardback edition was released in autumn of 2011 and The History Keepers series proved to be such a success that it has already been published in 25 languages and the movie rights sold. Reading it left me breathless, I don't think I've ever read a faster-paced book and Dibben didn't allow me to put it down long enough to even get a drink. I think that his screen-writing background  must have helped a great deal in creating such a dynamic début.

On the front cover it says that “it’s time for a new hero...”, well, in my opinion there is always time for a new hero but they have to be original and it is the originality aspect that some writers just do not pull off (but thankfully Dibben does). But what do we need a new hero for? Why, to stop the evil villains of course! The intention of the Order of History Keepers is to protect history as traveling back in the time and changing events can lead to major consequences. And this is indeed what the diabolical prince Zeldt is doing so it is up to Jake and his new found friends to save history and thereby the future.

I found the concept behind The History Keepers rather interesting as Dibben uses the time traveling in a new and unique way while cleverly incorporating events from the present day and those historical events that have strongly effected the world we know today. This is a great way of allowing children to learn in a fun way. The characters are really strong with each being well developed and with a well-defined personality. As well as Jake there are other secret agents: Topaz (the only girl), Nathan and Charlie, but  not all the agents are also from the same era as Jake. No, they come from throughout history and their origin is reflected in their behaviour and speech. The dialogue between the characters flows naturally and one aspect that I really liked was that Dibben located their HQ in the past and not in the present day - using these historical references made the story unique.

If I had a criticism of regarding The History Keepers it would be the world building. The concept is magnificent and fresh but  from the first letter there is 80% action and 20% explanation. It wasn't that it was a disappointing read, quite the opposite, but a fuller background could have made the story that much richer.

The History Keepers should prove to be an interesting series and the first book is undoubtedly a highly enjoyable read. So fasten your seatbelt because you're in for one hell of a ride! Roll on August and the release of book two, Circus Maximus!

I would like to thank Random House for kindly providing me with a review copy.

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