The once great English House of Arden has fallen on hard times and much reduced circumstances, and although they are not yet starving, life is not too pleasant for the children. In an exciting story set one hundred years ago, Eldred, the young Lord Arden, who is nine years old, and his sister Elf, who is eleven, adventure into the past to recover the lost treasure of Arden. With the aid of the magical Mouldiwarp, or white mole, they journey into history. Much to their annoyance but great personal improvement, the grumpy old mole insists that their access to the magic will only come by them learning to work together, grow up, and have proper respect for one another. The plot is fast and furious: they are robbed by a highwaymen, and locked up in the Tower of London for knowing too much about the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. They meet soldiers and smugglers in Napoleon's time, and meddle with Henry VIII's marital situation (mistake!). This has to be a superior way to learn history and fire the imagination at the same time. Although they are both warned that chances in life are not infinite, almost to the end they fluff their chances to find the family gold. A boy from the past who has learned how to travel forward in time helps them complete their mission, putting a sizeable twist in the ending. A certified classic: it dates so very little even one hundred years on, and withstands re-reading. E. Nesbit at her considerable best.
This report prepared by Michael JR Jose