Nick of Time

Nick McIver Adventures Through Time

Ted Bell

St. Martin's Griffin




448 Pages


Request Exam Copy Request Desk Copy

A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book

It's on the eve of war in England, 1939, that twelve-year-old Nick McIver sets out to become "the hero of his own life."  Nick and his younger sister, Kate, live in a lighthouse on the smallest of the Channel Islands. Nick and Kate come to the aid of their father who is engaged in a war of espionage with German U-boat wolf packs that are circling the islands. The information they provide to Winston Churchill is vital as he tries to warn England of the imminent Nazi invasion.

One day Nick discovers an old sea chest, left for him by his ancestor, Captain Nicholas McIver of the Royal Navy. The chest contains a time machine and a desperate plea for help from the captain. Nick uses the machine to return to the year 1805. Captain McIver and, indeed, Admiral Nelson’s entire fleet are threatened by the treachery of the French and the mutinous Captain Billy Blood. Nick must use his wits, courage, and daring to rescue the imperiled British sailors.

His sister, Kate, meanwhile, has enlisted the aid of two of England’s most brilliant "scientific detectives," Lord Hawke and Commander Hobbes, to thwart the invading Nazis. She and Nick must face England’s underwater enemies, a challenge made all the more difficult when they discover the existence of Germany’s supersecret submarine.

In this adventure, written in the tradition of epic novels like Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Nick must fight ruthless enemies across two different centuries, on land and sea, to help defeat those determined to destroy his home and his family.  


Praise for Nick of Time

"Nick of Time is a blast—the best of Robert Louis Stevenson, Horatio Hornblower, and Harry Potter. The kid in me loved it, and so did the adult.”—James Patterson
"Nick of Time takes young readers on a thrilling historical voyage. There is an undeniable attraction for boys to the figure of the heroic Englishman (though Nick's spunky younger sister will seem to girls the true hero of the novel), and Nick's mantra in times of stress—'Nelson the strong, Nelson the brave, Nelson, the lord of the sea'—gets him through the most grueling of moments, when a boy might otherwise give up. The descriptions of the sea battles here are definitely not for the faint of heart."—Sonja Bolle, Los Angeles Times
“A brilliant adventure, hidden within a rolling saga, tucked inside an intriguing mystery. That's Nick of Time. Ted Bell proves that he's the master of swashbuckling for both young and old.”—Steve Berry, author of The Venetian Betrayal

“Wow! Some books sweep you away.  Nick of Time amazed me, dazzled me, and swept my imagination off to sea . . . I've been craving an adventure story with a good mystery and this arrived in the nick of time to rescue me.”—Diane Chen,

“This old-fashioned adventure adds a new twist to elements of Treasure Island, Horatio Hornblower, and 'Indiana Jones' . . . Every middle school boy (and many girls, too) will relish joining Nick on his heroic adventures.  Charming and thrilling, this book could become a classic with its good, clean, swashbuckling fun.”—VOYA
“Nick of Time reminded me of Brian Jacques, one of my favorite authors. Everything clicks together perfectly . . . I really like the era and technology of World War II, especially the ‘secret weapons’ . . . the whole pirate thing really appeals to me . . . The time travel idea is cool, and what’s even better is that da Vinci created it!”—Henry Willshire, age 13

"This is an immensely appealing book about 12-year-old Nick McIver, son of a lighthouse owner, who lives on Greybeard Island off the coast of Great Britain in 1939. Opening with a thrilling near-fatal sailboat excursion, the action kicks into high gear when Nick finds a sea chest containing a mysterious glowing globe . . . Nick finds himself bouncing back and forth in time fighting exceedingly nasty pirates, Napoleon's naval forces in 1805, and Nazi spies in 1939. Nick is the pluckiest, most likable boy-hero since Robert Lewis Stevenson's David Balfour. With great battle scenes; lots of nautical jargon; and themes of courage, integrity, and honor, this book will appeal to restless boys who can never find books written just for them. Three huzzahs and a great big 21-gun salute to Bell for his first novel for kids. Hopefully, it won't be his last."—Jane Henricksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, Alaska, School Library Journal (starred review)

"Bell's narrative never lacks for excitement . . . for younger readers . . . this book will become an instant classic."—Cara Chancellor, Hollywood, Florida, KLIATT

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Ted Bell is the former Vice-Chairman of the Board and World-Wide Creative Director of Young & Rubicam, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Hawke, Assassin, Pirate, Spy, and Tsar. This is his first novel for young adults.

Read the full excerpt



  • Nick of Time by Ted Bell--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt of Ted Bell's children's book Nick of Time, narrated by John Shea. Nick of Time is an epic adventure story starring young Nick McIver, who uses a time machine to rescue two young children taken prisoner by pirates. Along the way, with courageous feats of derring-do, not to mention his resourcefulness, our young hero—"the most reliable boy in England"—changes the course of events in two time periods, the Napoleonic Wars and World War II.



  • Ted Bell

  • Ted Bell is the former Vice-Chairman of the Board and World-Wide Creative Director of Young & Rubicam, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Hawke, Assassin, Pirate, Spy, and Tsar. Nick of Time is his first novel for young adults.

  • Ted Bell Lawrence Robins
    Ted Bell