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Utah author writes beginning of new time travel series

Published: Saturday, Aug. 25 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

"INFINITY RING, Book 1: A Mutiny in Time," by James Dashner, Scholastic Press, $12.99, 192 pages (f) (8 and up)

Dak Smyth and Sera Froste are best friends with completely diverse interests. Naturally, their fifth-grade studies neither challenge nor stimulate them, but Dak’s parents’ science lab does.

Like sleuths, Dak and Sera sneak into the lab and discover a secret project, the makings of a time travel device called the Infinity Ring. Sera figures out the missing formula and the machine is set to function. With the government troops breaking into the lab, the Smyths, Dak and Sera are thrust into another time period — the Revolutionary War.

While the children are rescued from British bayonets by a reversal of the time warp, mysteriously the Smyths do not return. The goal now is to find Dak’s missing parents no matter what time period they are in, as "A Mutiny in Time," the first book in the Infinity Ring series, opens.

Before they can formulate plans, Dak and Sera are snatched by the Hystorians, group founded anciently by Aristotle, the philosopher who predicted in 330 B.C. that time travel would be possible and necessary to correct the Great Breaks of history, “a way to correct the things that didn’t go the way they were supposed to go."

With Riq, a Hystorian-in-training, Dak and Sera begin travels with the Infinity Ring to fix the mistakes that caused history to go wrong and ultimately to find Dak’s parents.

Their first leap through the wormhole of time is to Spain in 1492 with the purpose of quelling mutiny on a ship named the Santa Maria.

“A Mutiny in Time” is risky adventure in constant action as the young people use their particular skills to battle oppressors on both sides of the time warp. Utah author James Dashner’s wonderful friendship of Dak and Sera — both “inhumanly dorky” — is winning as are the descriptions of the places and people they confront. (“A gruff-looking man walked out, hitching up his trousers. His shirt was filthy ... and his face and his hair and his hands. … But none of this was what stood out most about him. He had only one eye. And it was a big one, as if it wanted to make up for the lack of its partner.”)

Intuitive readers will understand the possible dilemma of time travel because once things like the Breaks are corrected, time lines will be in flux and “we won’t be able to take anything for granted. All we can do is make the changes … and hope for the best.”

“A Mutiny in Time” is the first of the seven multi-platform Infinity Ring series for middle-grade readers featuring time travel into various historical settings. To be released in hard cover, e-book and audio versions, the novels are combined with multimedia components: online at www.infinityring.com are interactive “Hystorian Guides,” maps that act as a link to a 3D game (available online for smartphones and tablets) where readers will find clues to the adventures and explore historic locations, visit optional sites and solve puzzles along with Dak and Sera while meeting famous figures from the past.

Writers and designers have purposely planned the games to lead readers back into the book, which provides clues not found online. Stacy Lellos, vice president of marketing and publishing at Scholastic, said that the book itself is the essential part of the series. “You won’t know who the characters are, and you won’t know which characters to use (in the games) unless you’ve been reading the books,” she said.

Dashner, the Utah author of “A Mutiny in Time” who also wrote the “Maze Runner” series, will also write the seventh and last in the seven-book series. Carrie Ryan (“The Forest of Hands and Teeth”) has written Infinity Book No. 2: “Divide and Conquer,” due out November 2012. Other authors of the yet untitled books in the series are Lisa McMann (“The Unwanteds”), Matt De La Pena (“We Were Here”), Utah writers Matthew Kirby (“The Clockwork Three”) and Jennifer A. Nielsen (“The False Prince”)

Each of the books will be published at two to four month intervals with the final one scheduled for March 2014.

If you go…

What: "A Mutiny in Time" book launch and James Dashner book signings

When: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.

Where: Salt Lake City Library, downtown, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Also ...

When: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2 p.m.

Where: Barnes & Noble, University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Email: marilousorensen@ymail.com

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