Mess around with time and the world you know... could become a world you don't.
Time Riders is a series of eight, soon to be nine YA science-fiction novels by Alex Scarrow. Three teenagers find themselves saved moments before death by a mysterious agency, who recruit them to travel through time to correct errors in history caused by tampering time travelers from the future. Eventually, the trio discovers that the agency has far more secrets hidden away than they had originally thought.The books in the series are:
- Time Riders
- Time Riders: Day of the Predator
- Time Riders: The Doomsday Code
- Time Riders: The Eternal War
- Time Riders: Gates of Rome
- Time Riders: City of Shadows
- Tune Riders: The Pirate Kings
- Time Riders: The Mayan Prophecy
- Time Riders: The Infinity Cage (coming out on November 5th 2014)
Time Riders contains examples of:
- Age-Appropriate Angst: Liam, Maddy and Sal are all just teenagers, a valid reason for all of them being driven to tears at least once over the course of the series.
- Alternate Self: Foster looks to be one for Liam until the team finds out that they are all support units and Liam and Foster are separate Liam units.
- Anti-Hero: Waldstein. Sure, he kind of wants to make sure humanity as we know it is killed off by a virus, but he appears to be being forced to do so by something else.
- Archived Army: The team are joined by the likes of Abraham Lincoln and the apparent Robin Hood.
- Artificial Human: Bob and Becks are referred to as support units- robots created in the future that are almost exactly like humans. They are grown from cloned tissue, deliberately given the appropriate genetic makeup for up to 700% human strength, superior speed and reflexes ... and a brain the size of a walnut. They also have an incredibly powerful supercomputer hooked up to it. The first we meet, a male, is frequently described as 'an ox of a man', and Maddy wanted to name him after Arnold Schwarznegger for a reason. The second, a female called Becks,is much more slender, but muscled like a gymnast. Aside from being seven feet tall and laden with more muscles than is strictly fair, the pair go from completely bald (after 'birth') to having fairly ordinary dark hair and grey eyes. In fact, aside from her robotic coldness, quiet demeanor, and artificial speech pattern, you be forgiven for thinking that Becks was (an unnaturally beautiful, which she capitalizes on at more than one point) human woman. They are flesh-and-bone rather than metal simply because it is better at learning and better at repairing itself on the field (flesh heals better than steel, at any rate). There are only two problems; they can't easily gauge emotional inflections like sarcasm, and they find it confusing and problematic to make a decision. Liam, Maddy and Sal later discover that they are more advanced support units, capable of feeling emotions but far less physically strong.
- Bad Future: It's constantly referenced that in the 2070s mankind is all but wiped out by the Kosong-Ni virus. Rashim is even close to witnessing it first hand.
- Break the Cutie: Sal in particular by The Mayan Prophecy. She's the youngest character and has to deal with the fact that she was modeled on a real girl, making her seem like a fake.
- Butterfly of Doom: The series is centered around stopping people from a seemingly hopeless future from changing the past. Only the odd book has no massive effect on the future due to something being changed in the past as its main plot.
- In the first Time Riders, a Kramer tries to lead Hitler to victory and grab some glory for himself too. Kramer eventually goes insane and starts a nuclear war, leaving nothing but savage mutants on the planet.
- In Day of the Predator, an assassin (later proven to be a Hitman with a Heart when he doesn't kill Chan) is sent to kill young Edward Chan, one of the biggest contributors to the invention of time travel. Thankfully, we see very little of the Bad Future that would occur.
- In the Doomsday Code, Liam finds himself in the middle of a History-changing battle. Time is in a state of flux until the battle is over.
- In the Eternal War, the Eternal War in question is the result of Abraham Lincoln not being around to win the American civil war.
- In the Gates of Rome, the Project Exodus team tries to overthrow the Roman Empire. Instead, everyone but Rashim is killed and Emperor Caligula uses the support units the team had as his personal bodyguards, leaving him to rule for far too long.
- In the City of Shadows, the team run into Jack the Ripper and figure out that they have to let him get away with his murders; he is actually an aristocrat, and the discovery of that would leave London in ruins.
- Chekhov's Gun: The seemingly insignificant teddy bear Sal remembers in The Day of the Predator is later revealed to suspiciously be in the costume shop near the team's archway. Later, this is one of the key plot details when the team realise that they're support units.
- Demoted to Extra: While many characters have come and gone, Foster continued to make appearances until his death in the City of Shadows in most books, albeit smaller ones than in the first book.
- Future Me Scares Me: Rashim is horrified to discover that he has become an aged madman due to Caligula's treatment of him.
- Foster is the same thing to Liam, but only agewise. Otherwise, he admires and respects him.
- Red Herring Shirt: Rashim joining the team was completely unexpected. He seemed to just be another One-Shot Character until he was dragged off by the team back to the archway (and into subsequent books).
- The Obi-Wan: Foster is a mentor to the team, constantly helping them, although he appears less and less until the City of Shadows, when he dies, but not before giving Maddy a crucial clue to the Agency's true nature.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Waldstein. His wife, Eleanor, and son, Gabriel, both died. Literally wanting to see the world ruined is still nowhere near justified, but he implied to be acting on something else too.