Nick MCiver Series


Nick of Time | First Release 2006

Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Hardcover Large Print, Paperback, Audio CD, Audiobook, Multi-media CD


From the New York Times bestselling author of the hugely successful Alex Hawke series comes an irresistible young adult novel for the market for the same audience as Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series and Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series.

In the celebrated tradition of grand adventure tales going back to Robert Louis Stevenson’s TREASURE ISLAND, Ted Bell’s NICK OF TIME is an epic adventure story starring a young lad named 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.

Opening in England, 1930, on the eve of War, Nick and his little sister Kate live in a lighthouse on the smallest of the Channel islands where Nick eagerly helps his father in a desperate war of espionage with the German U-boat fleets that are circling the islands prior to invasion. Winston Churchill depends on the information they send him. But the Nazis become the least of Nick’s problems after he discovers a sea chest hidden in a cove, a chest that turns out to contain a perfectly designed time machine. Unfortunately for him, Nick isn’t the only one who knows about the chest: a traitor from the fleet of Admiral Nelson, the evil pirate Captain Billy Blood, travels through time capturing little children and holding them for ransom.

Blood will stop at nothing to possess the priceless machine. With the help of Lord Hawke, the master of Hawke Castle, whose children have been taken by Blood, Nick fights the ruthless pirate on land and sea in two different centuries with a finale on the high seas that no reader will ever forget. Nick’s courage and heroism win him praise from two of the greatest warriors of all time, Admiral Nelson and Winston Churchill.

Nick McIver has triumphed to fight another day in other books to come.

Praise for Nick of Time:

A Different Harry Potter!

Ordered this book as a graduation gift for an 8th grade boy. Decided to read it first just to make sure. Very enjoyable fantasy. Just as wonderful as Harry Potter but a different time and place – and a little reality actually mixed in. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

 Amazon Reader

This is the best book in the history of the world. I will read it again and again until I can no longer read anymore. In the very first chapter, young Nick McIver alomst dies. Nick’s character is 100% perfect, and you feel as if you could be his best friend or sibling. Some people call this a “boy’s book”. But this is also a great girl book, too, because I’m sick of reading books about people who are cowards and whining. This book is a true page turner, and I could never put it down. I’m always rereading my favorite part. It’s always when Nick finds a German U-Boat or when he’s in 1804, high in the sling, faithfully comanding orders to the bustling crew below. Everyone in the whole entire world should read this story! 

— Ava, aged 11

“If someone you love loves Harry Potter, Long John Silver, or Indiana Jones, this is the book for them!” —Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Award 2009“If someone you love loves Harry Potter, Long John Silver, or Indiana Jones, this is the book for them!”


—Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Award 2009

“Nick of Time is an American classic.” —Glenn Beck

“Nick of Time takes young readers on a thrilling historical voyage… definitely not for the faint of heart.”

—Los Angeles Times

“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.”

—School Library Journal

“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, New York Times bestselling author of the Maximum Ride series

“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

“In the book Nick of Time, Ted Bell captures the reader’s attention early on with an excellent command of the English language and a writing style that leaves little to be desired. His correct usage of proper boating terminology throughout the book, especially in the first few chapters, helps to make the book very realistic. I also enjoyed how in the second half of the book, there was extreme excitement taking place in each era, so even when you switched time periods, it was almost impossible to put the book down…

The book Nick of Time contains nearly everything a boy this age would want to read about and presents it in a form which makes for a great read that can be appreciated by children, teens, and adults. It was one of the better books of its genre I have read recently, and I am anxiously awaiting Ted Bell’s second novel.”

—Brian, 14

“Wow! Some books sweep you away. Ted Bell’s Nick of Time amazed me, dazzled me, and swept my imagination off to sea. The interweaving of pirate adventures at sea with the threat of German U-boats pre-WWII was accomplished so skillfully that I yearned to join them traveling through time. Ted Bell’s descriptions were so vivid, I could picture every scene in full-color.

With the exciting action scenes, I ignored the outside world to focus on this incredible tale. The history was so enticing, I found myself pouring through WWII texts on England’s preparations for war, Churchill’s struggles, and maps of the islands. I wanted to experience sailing and its dangers as Nick was able to do. Curse my landlocked childhood!

I curled up with this book last weekend while battling the flu, but even the flu couldn’t keep me away from the pages of this story. I was compelled to keep reading until past midnight. The last line of the story gave me hope for many more sequels. Please, Mr. Bell, may I have some more? I know you have written books for adults, but this title was truly amazing and I want to experience it again. Someone will be snatching up the rights to make this into a film soon! Give us hope that the sequel is on it’s way.

The message of heroism in Nick of Time has clung to me this week. I keep reviewing scenes and conversations from the story. Who are my heroes? What if I could travel through time to meet them? Would I have anything to offer them? Are there small roles in history that we could play that would impact others? How many of us could act as well as seven-year old Kate? Also, what has become of the villain Billy Blood? Where will he strike next?

Middle school students are going to be so hooked by this book. Perhaps I should change to being a MS librarian just so I can help boys in particular find this book. Don’t worry girls, you’ll love this as much as I did and there is plenty to ponder after you’re finished reading. Just don’t think you can read only one chapter before breakfast. I tried and glanced up 80 pages later to wonder what had happened and where I’d been.

I’ve been craving an adventure story with a good mystery and this arrived in the nick of time to rescue me. Nick of Time will be released in May, 2008, but I can send out some Advanced Reading Copies now to the first ten people to email me. Let’s hope it’s you because everyone wants to be one of the first to read the next great book for kids. ”

—Diane Chen, School Library Journal Review

‘Nick of Time’ takes young readers on a thrilling historical voyage

What is it about seafaring stories that thrills the most confirmed landlubber? People who devoured Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series can rejoice this summer at the possibility of sharing the passion for the British Royal Navy with their offspring. In his first novel for children, “Nick of Time” (St. Martin’s Griffin: 448 pp., $17.95, ages 9-12), Ted Bell, author of the bestselling Alex Hawke books, tells a time-travel story in which Nicholas McIver, an intrepid 12-year-old sailor and son of a lighthouse keeper in the English Channel Islands, helps Hawke rescue his young children from the clutches of an evil pirate. The chase takes them from Nazi-infested waters on the eve of World War II to the sea battles of Lord Nelson’s time, through the magic of a time machine handed down from Leonardo da Vinci.

If it’s surprising that children who have never set foot on a boat will tolerate lengthy discussion of how much water a boat will draw and how much sail should be reefed to pass over a tricky spot, remember that one of the pleasures of reading is to learn specialized vocabulary having little relation to our daily life. We are accustomed to it from an early age; think of all the books we read to our children that taught them the sounds of barnyard animals. How many of our kids ever come into contact with cows, sheep, horses? But they all know what the pig says. So why not let “mizzenmast halyards” roll trippingly off the tongue?

This is the first historical novel my 10-year-old son has taken to, and it’s in large part thanks to the reading of John Shea (“Nick of Time,” audio version, Macmillan Young Listeners, 10 CDs, $29.95), whose rich voice gives a sense of grand adventure while maintaining the proper square-jawed demeanor for the British gentleman-in-training, young Nick McIver. 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.

In the middle of the book, my son leaned back thoughtfully and said, “I’m beginning to get the idea that the French and the English don’t like each other very much.” What better way to grasp one of the essentials of European history?

—Sonja Bolle , June 29, 2008 Los Angeles Times