Time traveling is a very demanding subject to pull off well, doubly so if you build your book around well known persons in history, such as kings. Tybalt & Theo attempts to be an entertaining but logical story of time travel and it succeeds eminently well.
Tybalt, a 17th century Londoner, and Theo, a 21st century merchant banker, become swapped in time due to an administrative error. Much to the dismay of both, the world they land in differs wildly from what they are used to, but being active and intelligent, they both make the most of the experience. When you add attempted regicide, a bungling time-management (for real in this context) officer, and five hundred lemons to power a Blackberry/iPod/time adjustment device, you know you are in for a wild ride.
Williamson excels in extracting hilarious moments from the experiences of both Tybalt and Theo. I laughed aloud at the visual image of Tybalt meeting modern coffee for the first time and commenting, "A bird has shytten in this." Another killer moment is seen when Tybalt tries to double as a merchant banker and makes small talk to one of Theo's clients:
`Er, how is Jennifer, your wife, and ... ' he squinted at the other contacts, `Lucy, Liz and Layla, your mistresses?' Patty glanced at Tybalt in alarm. `They're all fine. But keep quiet about the girls, old boy. It's supposed to be a secret.' `Right. And you appear to have no offspring.' `Theo, are you sure it was just your memory you lost? You're beginning to sound like you've lost your mind.'
The problem in time travel is always maintaining a coherent story structure, which by default is broken if someone manages to enter another time. Williamson's forte is that he never loses sight of the big picture and he pulls the entire caper off without a hitch. And the way he brings 21st century asset management to 17th century shysters is nothing short of genius. In fact, merchant banking and reality TV get what they have been asking for, a bloodied nose and exposure of how silly both are actually.
This book is highly recommended to anyone who finds quaint language, good plotting, and time travel entertaining. Such people will not be disappointed.
Heikki Hietala, author of Tulagi Hotel