Jamestowne by Tim Black

Jamestowne by Tim Black
Tesla’s Time Travelers, #3
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical
Length: Short Story (137 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

With Nikola Tesla at the controls, teacher Nathan Greene and the time-traveling teens journey back to 17th century Virginia to witness the founding of Jamestowne. As the famed Serbian-American scientist brings the classroom portable in for a landing, two young Native Americans witness the portable’s descent from the sky. The boy and girl quickly return to their village and the girl tells her father, Chief Powhatan, that People of the Sky have landed. Called “playful one,” Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, is known to tell imaginative stories of her own creation. Still, as a precaution, Powhatan sends his brother and a group of warriors to investigate his daughter’s claims.

As Greene and his students trek across a grassland in the direction of the English settlers’ landing site, Chief Opechancanough and his warriors surround the time travelers and take them hostage, leading them to Powhatan’s village where Mr. Greene faces execution.
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So begins the third adventure of the students of Cassadaga Area High School, whose latest trip includes meeting the famed adventurer John Smith and witnessing the beginning of the first English colony in North America, all while being chased through time by the most dangerous Native of the 17 century.

There are some parts of history that can only be rediscovered by visiting the past for yourself.

The descriptions of Powhatan culture were fascinating. I appreciated the fact that Mr. Black went into so much detail about what life in this tribe was like for people of all ages. It made it easy for me to picture what an average day for them involved and why they were so confused and irritated by some of the decisions the European characters made.

This tale never really had a clear narrator. There were a few difference characters that kept popping up regularly, but the plot moved among them without ever making it clear to the audience which perspective or perspectives we should be giving the most attention to. My preference would have been for Pocahontas to take on this role, but any main character would have done nicely as long as it was clear who was in charge of keeping the storyline moving forward.

One of the things I appreciated the most about the plot was how careful the characters were to avoid changing the past. This is always a temptation with time travel, but it’s terribly risky. I liked the fact that the characters were aware of that risk and did everything they could to let history unfold the way it had in our timeline regardless of how much they wished they could change certain things.

This is part of a series, but it can be read as a standalone work.

Jamestowne should be read by adult and young adult history buffs alike.

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