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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Tom Mathers is a fairly typical British hero, rather shy, tongue-tied around attractive women, but stout-hearted, loyal, brave and always determined to do the right thing. The Box Of Tricks by Alistair Potter chronicles his adventures resulting from his inheritance of a small antique box from his Uncle Jim. Following the instructions contained in a brief accompanying note, he is catapulted into another dimension and invited by a somewhat shady character to continue with his uncle’s past employment of collecting random objects which have been misrouted during transport, and returning them to their correct world or location within the multiverse. After a little hesitation, Tom accepts the challenge and, following some routine but quite exciting tasks, things start to get a little more complicated.
Receiving an assignment to track down and transfer a person as opposed to an object, he is rapidly out of his depth until he meets and subsequently teams up with a fellow collector, the gung-ho, swashbuckling James Fanshaw. Aided and sometimes inhibited by the hugely attractive Susie, who Tom finds almost impossible to talk to, and Lady Caroline Lamb (the original) with whom James had once shared his life, they charge through the planets and dimensions of the multiverse in a series of adventures which culminate in their dramatic attempt to put an end to the tampering and misuse of time itself by an ancient race.
The Box Of Tricks is the best science fiction book I have read for a very long time. It reminded me very much of the works of the late Douglas Adams. Well-structured in short punchy sections, the narrative moves along at a brisk pace, taking us through a series of strange but believable planets and thrilling encounters. Alistair Potter writes with a light hand, the plot contains a serious message but no point is laboured and there is a good deal of humour along the way. I strongly recommend this book, written in the best tradition of British science fiction, and urge you to read it. Personally, I will be sampling more of Mr Potter’s published works very soon.