J.J. Liddy is old enough to realize that his family is unique, but young enough not to appreciate that uniqueness. The 15-year-old Irish boy is a fiddler, and a good one, having been raised around music. He and his mother—who plays the concertina—join up with other musicians on Saturday nights in the Irish coastal town of Kinvara and play late into the evenings. This weekly ritual comes to an end when J.J.'s adolescent yearnings and his family history intersect; he learns to his chagrin that his great-grandfather is believed to have committed a murder, and worse, that the victim was a priest!
Kate Thompson's teen novel The New Policeman opens as this news is imparted by J.J.'s best friend on the school playground. To find out the truth, J.J. must talk to his mother, Helen, and that conversation leads the boy on a quest to find the perfect present for his mother's birthday—more time.
The town of Kinvara is suffering from an ailment all too familiar to denizens of the modern world: There's not enough time for the good things in life anymore. Some people in the village—particularly those attuned to the old ways—suspect that the lack of time is more than an illusion. J.J. begins his search for this lost time when he enters the ruin of an ancient Irish ring fort and emerges in the land of the fairy folk, the Tir an n'Óg.
J.J. enlists the help of a mysterious and enigmatic faerie named Aengus, who hints that his quest may have bigger implications that he thought possible; the fate of worlds may depend on his actions, if only he has enough time!
Winner of Britain's Whitbread Award for Children's Book of the Year, Thompson's novel catapults the reader into a Brigadoon-like world where nothing is exactly what it seems and where the only thing that really matters is music—the music we create, and the music that is life. The compelling plot is full of more twists than an Irish jig (complete with sheet music for those skilled enough to play one), and the well-drawn characters jump off the page. The New Policeman will take you to places, both real and imagined, that you've never been before.
James Neal Webb believes that if you're lucky enough to be Irish—you're lucky enough. Copyright 2007 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Time is leaking out of the human world and into the timeless land of Tir na n'Og. The book's complex plot features alternating narratives, enigmatic subplots, and a large cast. The story sometimes gets a bit crowded, but winds into a suspenseful climax. For those who appreciate an original twist on authentic lore, this will be spellbinding. Glos. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #2
A refreshingly non-Arthurian fantasy draws on traditional Irish legends of T'r na n'Ã®g, a timeless land where the carefree sidhe (the fairy folk, pronounced "she") make music, mischief, and occasional forays into the "ploddy" world-that is, ours. Unfortunately, and destructively, time is leaking out of the human world and into T'r na n'Ã®g. Fifteen-year-old fiddle player J.J. determines to fulfill his mother's wish for more time; in the process, he solves the mysterious time-skin leak (created by a self-righteous priest opposed to pagan influence) and finds his grandfather, gone missing many years before. This is a complex plot with alternating narratives in parallel worlds, enigmatic subplots, and a large cast, including Fionn Mac Cumhail's injured wolfhound, Bran; a fairy goat that doubles, when caught, as a drum; and the Dagda and his son Aengus Ã®g, the titular policeman, or garda, who has trouble remembering what he's supposed to be doing in either world. The story sometimes gets a bit crowded but winds into a suspenseful climax, with a crafty conclusion that solves all the puzzles without seeming predictably neat. The characters maintain their dry humor while deepening as the action progresses; the setting (in the Burren, and involving secret souterrains under ancient ring forts) is vivid. Traditional tunes end each brief chapter, and a pronunciation guide and glossary for words such as cÅ½il' are included. For those who appreciate an original twist on authentic lore, this will be spellbinding. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2006 December #2
J.J. Liddy sometimes wishes he could go clubbing like the other boys instead of playing fiddle at his family's dances every weekend. Still, he loves the music. If only there were more time--for it seems everyone is running around these days, late for breakfast, late for school, late for dancing. Hoping to buy a bit of time for his mother's birthday, he finds himself in to T'r na n'ig, land of the ever young. There he meets the fairy folk, pleasure-loving musicians who explain that time's been leaking from his world into theirs. Not only is this responsible for the terrible rush that plagues J.J.'s life, but it is bringing aging and death to the usually unchanging world of the fairies. Extremely short chapters interspersed with musical scores of appropriate traditional tunes create a choppy start, but the novel, rich with Irish flavor, quickly warms up as time passes too quickly in both worlds. A wholly satisfying resolution returns all characters to their homes--with a bit of crossing-over fun. Charming. (Fantasy. 12-14) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 December #2
Irish author Thompson's enchanting story may be a long book but it reads quickly fitting since it's about irregularities in the passage of time. J.J. Liddy, 15, lives in a village on Ireland's fabled west coast where the prevailing complaint is about too-busy adults and overprogrammed kids ("Children could scarcely even find time for making mischief"). "Time" is what J.J.'s mother wants most for her birthday. The Liddys, renowned musicians for generations, regularly host a cil (dance) with musicians and step-dancers at their home. But though J.J. is a gifted musician himself, he wants to be two places at once when a friend suggests they go clubbing the same night as the monthly cil. En route to turn his friend down, J.J. is waylaid by a woman who knows why time is flying by but needs J.J. (for reasons having to do with his family history) to fix it. The problem has nothing to do with Ireland joining the E.U., as many locals believe, but rather with events in Tr na n'g, the fairy kingdom. As J.J. puts it, "Time is leaking out of our world into yours" a deadly development, since heretofore the "little people" had enjoyed eternal life. Thompson's nifty plotting mines a rich vein of Irish faerie lore and magic for this meditation on the losses that modernization brings. The book is a kind of love song to traditional Irish music, every chapter ends with a melody. Readers may wish the book came with a CD. Ages 10-up. (Feb.)[Page 70]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7-10-- J.J. Liddy, 15, is descended from a proud old family of Irish musicians. In his small village of Kinvara, playing traditional music is a way of life. Lately, though, it seems that the townspeople have less and less time to fulfill daily responsibilities and very few moments left over to make music and enjoy life. In exasperation, J.J.'s mother asks for more time as her birthday gift. Unaware of any magical implications, the teen innocently sets out to find out where the time has gone. This search leads him into the heart of Tr na n'g, the land of eternal youth, where he discovers the truth about some family secrets and the identity of the rather hopeless new town policeman, whose mysterious investigation parallels J.J.'s quest. This novel delivers richly tantalizing morsels of Irish mythology as traditional characters dance across the pages. In a story interspersed with snippets of Irish jigs that reflect the progress of the tale, Thompson has masterfully woven together melody and harmony into a tune that will lead readers to a splendid, rollicking crescendo. Some unfamiliar Irish terminology might make comprehension difficult for those who struggle with reading, but the glossary will help mature readers. Those who follow this story through to the end will not be disappointed.--Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO[Page 220]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.