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The Navigator by Eoin McNamee

The Navigator (2006)

by Eoin McNamee

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This novel is about a young boy who finds himself in a very strange situation.

Owen's father committed suicide, and people around town whisper that Owen will follow in his father's footsteps. Mom has sunk into a fog of depression. In Owen's forest hideaway, there is a huge flash, and everything has changed. Geographically, Owen is in the same place, but everything, and everyone, that he knew is gone. A person called the Sub-Commandant tells Owen that a rag-tag group of humans called the Resisters are at war with ethereal beings called the Harsh. They have succeeded in causing time to run backwards. The intention of the Harsh is to go back to a time before humans, take over Earth, and turn it into a frozen wasteland.

Some of the Resisters think that Owen is a spy for the Harsh, or, at minimum, a collaborator. Before he died, Owen's father played a significant part in causing the war. The only way to end the war, and to get time going in the right direction, is to bring a special piece called the Mortmain, to the Puissance, or Great Machine, far to the north. Then Owen must go down into the earth a great distance, and place the Mortmain in the right spot. Naturally, the Harsh will be waiting. Does Owen succeed? Does Own even survive? Is everything restored to the way it was?

As you may have guessed, this is a young adult novel, and, as such, it is pretty good. There are good characters, and plenty of action. Older young people, and adults, will also like this book. ( )
  plappen | May 9, 2015 |
Reviewed by Candace Cunard for TeensReadToo.com

Owen is ostracized by the other children around him for his father's death long ago, a presumed suicide that resulted in his mother being thrown into a haze of depression from which she cannot escape. By his young teens, he's quietly self-reliant, managing the house on his own and taking care of his mother who is forgetful and not always lucid. He spends his time wandering around the terrain outside of his house, by a river and an abandoned old building that was once a workhouse.

One day, Owen meets a strange man near the river right before witnessing a strange flash of darkness. The man, who introduces himself as the Sub-Commandant, explains to Owen that the mysterious flash signifies that a group of creatures known as the Harsh have succeeded in turning back time to before human habitation, so that they can live alone in solitude and turn the Earth to a barren, ice-encrusted waste. Owen does not believe the Sub-Commandant at first, but when he runs away to find his home, he is faced with nothing but ruins.

The Sub-Commandant brings Owen back to the Workhouse, which Owen learns is situated on an "island in time" that the Harsh cannot touch, and home to the Resisters, a rag-tag fighting force whose purpose it is to defeat the Harsh and prevent them from tampering with Earth's timeflow. Owen quickly becomes swept up in the affairs of the Resisters, who do not understand why he did not disappear along with all of the other people and signs of human life in the world. Some even suspect that he is a Harsh spy, and mistrust him. Along the way he meets with several compelling characters, including Cati, the Sub-Commandant's daughter, and Dr. Diamond, an expert in the science of time. While with the Resisters, Owen learns things about time that he can barely believe, and begins to delve into the secrets of his past and his father's connection to the strange object known as the Mortmain that will allow the Resisters to defeat the Harsh once and for all.

The concept for this book was quite inventive, and I enjoyed the author's concept of a world in which time itself is in danger from antagonistic forces. The action moved along at a good pace, and although some of the scenarios were initially confusing, the reader learns more about the situation as Owen does, and things start to fall into place, leading up to a conclusion that closes up enough loose ends to be satisfying but leaves enough new possibilities open to be interesting. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
First in a series. Concerned with the flow of time and an evil group trying to destroy it. The Navigator is the boy "chosen to save the world". Pretty good book... got a little laborious about 3/4 of the way through, like the author lost his pace... but it picks back up and finishes off well. ( )
  snpnmnmi | Jun 5, 2007 |
Owen is in his secret den when he notices a change in light. Going outside to investigate, he discovers a man in uniform gazing toward Johnston's scrapyard. Across the river, a figure dressed in white appears, raises a hand and lets out an inhuman cry. Upon hearing it, the uniformed man turns, sees Owen, takes him by the arm and tells him to hurry - "they have a lot to do." So begins Owen's adventure as he discovers an entire population of people at the abandoned Workhouse. They have been awakened once again in the fight against the Harsh - white-clothed beings who can turn the world into a empty, frozen wilderness. The race is on to save the world as time flows backwards. The tool, called a Mortmain, needed to reverse this condition rests with Owen, who has been chosen by birthright as the Navigator. The only problem - Owen has no idea where it is nor what it looks like.
  infolink66 | May 29, 2007 |
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For Owen and Kathleen
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There was something different about the afternoon. It seemed dark although there wasn't much cloud. It seemed cold although the sun shone. And the alder trees along the river stirred and shivered although the wind did not seem to blow.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375839100, Hardcover)

Owen turned to Cat but she was staring into the woods, her face a mast of fear. Far off, but moving closer, were two figures, both white, both faceless, seeming to glide between the trees. "The Harsh" whispered Cati."They're here."

One day the world around Owen shifts oddly: Time flows backwards, and the world and family he knew disappear. Time can only be set right when the Resisters vanquish their ancient enemies, the Harsh. Unless they are stopped, everything Owen knows will vanish as if it has never been...And Owen discovers he has a terrifying role to play in this battle: he is the Navigator.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Owen has always been different, and not only because his father committed suicide, but he is not prepared for the knowledge that he has a mission to help the Wakeful--the custodians of time--to stop the Harsh from reversing the flow of time.

» see all 3 descriptions

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