The Boy Who Stole Time
By Mark Bowsher
A young boy travels to a magical realm and is set three impossible tasks to win the essence of time itself in order to save his dying mother
Publication date: August 2018Buy
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“Yer know that there's a thing, a real thing that is time? Myrthali! The Sands of Time! The dust the ages leave in their wake! A powder yer take. Boil a little up on a teaspoon with milk and liquorice and yer'll be livin' for another four years! And some’s got a lot more than a teaspoonful, I can tell yer...”
When 12-year-old Krish finds out his mum is dying, he is desperate to give her more time to live. This leads to a deal with a devil-like creature to travel to another realm, Ilir, and collect the essence of time itself.
Ilir is a tiny desert world where the days are a handful of hours long and there is magic and treachery on every corner. Here Krish is set three impossible challenges by the brutal King Obsendei to win from him the Myrthali, 'the sands of time'. Krish is aided by the razor-tongued, young girl-wizard Balthrir, who hopes to free her parents from the Black Palace; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King.
Krish and Balthrir will climb a mountain perched on top of a tree, dive into the pitch black depths of the Night Ocean and witness a firestorm over the Pale Hunting Grounds, where majestic and terrifying birds are born out of flames in the sky. They will meet Old Margary, a powerful sorceress and the last of the Sheekarla, whose perception of time is warped by her extreme old age (she once didn't speak for several decades in what she considered 'a natural gap in the conversation'). They will encounter the brutal Goonmallinns who would use them as bait to capture a FireHawk. And they will be pursued by the Vulrein; hellish dogs who haunt Krish, picking up his scent every time he closes his eyes. But Krish may be about to learn that there is more than his mother's life at stake as he gets embroiled in a blood-thirsty fight for power in Ilir that will push his friendship with Balthrir to its limits.
Inspired by everything from His Dark Materials to Grimm's Tales and the Russian folk tale The Fool of the World and His Flying Ship, The Boy Who Stole Time is also greatly influenced by the author's travels in Asia and Saharan Africa. This is a story from someone who has really climbed mountains, dived into the deep and trekked through the desert on foot. A tale for children and adults that is packed with humour, imagination and excitement that will inspire travel through pure escapism.
Mark is a proudly dyspraxic writer and filmmaker who has made over 100 book promos for a certain publisher named Unbound. He wrote and directed his first full-length play, Not the Story of Me, at 20 and went on to make three shorts which won Best Short awards (plus one Best Screenplay award) at festivals in the UK and the US. The last of these, Only One Person Will Like This Film, was picked by the BFI as one of their '10 to try' out of over 300 films at LSFF 2013. He has written short fiction (The Pitch and I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here's How I Did It... ) for Lionsgate's Fright Club ezine as well as articles for Den of Geek and Cult TV Times. Since going freelance in 2013 he has created video content for Santander, Pearson, Choice Support, The Big Issue and MyLex as well as music videos (all based on concepts he pitched to the artists) for Nisha Chand, Ekkoes, Good Work Watson, Morgan Crowley and Go-Zilla. He recently wrote and directed the pilot episode for a sitcom based on his previous career in film marketing entitled It's All Lies. He isn't married and doesn't live in Surrey but he did once climb a mountain dressed as Peter Pan.
Krish had a few minutes to take in the face looking down at them. It was as if Old Margary was comprised entirely of filthy old starched rags. Her face was a swirl of rough canyons on dry and mottled skin that did not look like it had moved for years. Hidden in her ghostly features were two shallow dark craters which he presumed were her eyes. She looked through him for some time, stiff as a statue, and then slowly turned to Balthrir.
“Bbbbbaaaaallll-” Came the elongated croak from the small crease that was Old Margary's mouth.
“Balthrir!” Interrupted Balthrir “Yep, that's me! Been a long time, old girl. Might need a bit of assistance, if yer've got the time...”
Old Margary considered this for roughly 20 minutes, then took five minutes to lower her head and another five for it rise up again to complete her nod. Then, with unexpected swiftness, she re-entered the house. Balthrir climbed the ladder and Krish followed.
The house was filled with pages. Books torn apart, the pages suspended from strings, positioned all about the ramshackle abode. Cauldrons, test tubes and mixing bowls were strewn about the worktops and a mattress-lined alcove encircled the whole of Old Margary's home. In fact, much seemed to be replicated around the room, perhaps so the ancient witch - who clearly moved at a pace that would see her being lapped by snails if she were in a race – would always have food and somewhere to rest for night, wherever she was in the room.
Old Margary stood by a hanging cauldron, flames flickering around the rim.
“Let me help!” butted in Balthrir.
While Old Margary was caught in a bow of thanks for a few minutes, Balthrir leapt forward and picked up a large black sphere, resembling a cannon ball, filled it with water and placed it at the heart of the roaring fire.
Krish was aware of Old Margary's inquisitive gaze washing over him. The skin of her sack-like face was surely about to crack, Krish thought as the corners of her mouth moved upwards for the first time that he had seen.
Telling someone nervous to relax is about as effective as placing a large, scrumptious-looking cake in front of a hungry child and leaving them alone in a room with it, with the express order not to consider even the tiniest of mouthfuls.
Instead Krish gave all his attention to the process of tea-making. The fire was so intense that steam billowed out of the holes in the top of the cannonball kettle. Balthrir had lowered glass tubes into these holes and all the steam was travelling up them at great speed. The tubes bared off at right angles, all heading out from the central point at which they met and the steam passed through porous sachets filled with tea leaves before the tubes took a dive another 90 degrees to bulbous flasks tied to the end of the tubes. Once full, Balthrir removed the flasks and stoppered them tightly before placing them in a sink filled with cold water. With minutes the steam had condensed into liquid and Balthrir was serving them in teacups with a little cold water.
Krish was overjoyed that Old Margary sprang her question moments after sitting down rather than pondering for hours on end.
- 5th July 2019 Events, Reviews & Sequels
With the first year anniversary of the publication of The Boy Who Stole Time, I thought it was time to post a quick update on how things are going with The Boy Who Stole Time.
Firstly, and most importantly, I've been really pleased with the 18 great reviews on Amazon (all 4 or 5 stars) but I really need your help - if I get 50 reviews the book will appear in more searches on the site, so please…17th July 2018 The Final Countdown
Time is running out to get involved in The Boy Who Stole Time! (Obvious pun but I had to go for it!) This Sunday at midnight (BST) is the last day to support The Boy Who Stole Time before it goes to print.
Here's a quick list of stuff that's handy to know:
- You can login at any time before Sunday and make sure that the name in the book is how you want it to appear. When you login, click…19th June 2018 Next Stage of Editorial & Artwork
Several bits of exciting news...
1. Editorial came back with some fantastic comments. Here's a shortened version of Craig in editorial's email (with all the spoilery stuff removed!)
So I can see there's been a huge amount of work done on this manuscript, and I'm very impressed.
You've really put your back into it and I really appreciate and…29th May 2018 Editorial Shenanigans
It's been some time since I've created an update as things have been very busy. But a convenient (yet slightly concerning!) work drought has nicely coincided with notes from the editorial team.
My editor, Craig, gave me notes dotted throughout the text (although I was very glad to see many chapters had no notes at all!) and essentially it all boiled down to the same thing. At…13th December 2017 Paperback Showreel (New Pledge Level)
The Boy Who Stole Time has been making some amazing progress - 65% now! - and I've had my 4th pledge for the bonus materials, which is handy as I've been scribbling lots of bits and bobs in my notebook on trains and in bookshop cafes for this level.
But I've also added a brand new pledge level for actors. I'll edit your showreel and you'll get a paperback copy of the book with…5th December 2017 Listen to Chapter 3 - The Harvest of Time
I read an abridged version of chapter 3 at Brixton Bookjam last night and had a great response from the crowd and other authors there. Really enjoyed the readings from Sophie Sparham, Damon L Wakes, Sarah-Jane Stratford, Zelda Rhiando and James Benmore. Here's a picture of me on stage courtesy of Caspar Addyman, a fellow Unbound author who I made a video for last year:
But more importantly…30th November 2017 Brixton BookJam - Monday 4th December
I'll be reading from The Boy Who Stole Time for the first time on Monday at Brixton BookJam (it's FREE!) Whether you've pledged or not it would be amazing if you could come along. You'll also hear from follow Unbound authors Damon Wakes and Zelda Rhiando as well as various other writers. The event will be at Brixton Hootananny, 95 Effra Road, London, SW2 1PD at 7.30pm.
Also…26th November 2017 The Harvest of Time at Kino London
Hello everyone - thank you so much to everyone who's pledged so far! Fantastic to see so many familiar names.
I'm going to be screening a short film at Kino London on Tuesday based on the third chapter of the book, The Harvest of Time. The chapter gives the back story to the key substance in the book - Myrthali: The Sands of Time.
It'll be narrated by John Fricker (who provided the voiceover…
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