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For Before the Storm

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Before the Storm

By Sean McMullen

(2 customer reviews)


Fox and BC travel through time from the distant future to 1901. Elite cadets in the Imperial Army, they are young, handsome, well-mannered … and now, mutineers. They have journeyed into the past to save the opening ceremony of Australia’s first parliament from being bombed. If the cadets fail, thousands will die, sparking a century of total war. However, to change the destiny of the world, the young warriors will need the help of three ordinary teenagers.

Cover designed by Grant Gittus.

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2 reviews for Before the Storm

  1. George Ivanoff

    They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Wise advice… for beyond this book’s somewhat cheesy cover lies an enthralling and thoroughly engaging novel.

    It’s a young adult, historical, science fiction novel in which two cadets from the future travel back in time to the opening of Australia’s first Parliament in 1901. Their mission: to prevent a bombing and thus alter the future from which they have come. In order to carry out their mission, they have to enlist the help of three ordinary teenagers. But why does the future need changing? Who sent the cadets on their mission? And who is planning the bombing?

    McMullen has come up with an intriguing, well-paced plot. It works on the level of a science fiction, time-travel story and also as a period piece… and more important, it never strains credibility. The action and adventure are tempered with moments of deftly handled humour, which are always complimentary to the story rather than intrusive.

    The real strength of the novel, however, is in its characters. From the future we have Fox and his Battle Commander, BC. From 1901 we have Daniel, his best friend Barry, and his older sister Emily. They all have foibles; they are all, in some way, trapped by their station in life; and they all feel absolutely real and believable. Each of the main characters has a personal journey, over the course of which they develop and grow. What more could you want? Well, you also get supporting characters with depth – my favourite being Muriel, the girl who pretends to speak with a French accent and who fancies Daniel.

    I enjoyed this book so much that I was left wishing that the author had written an Afterword in which he told us a bit about how his fictional story relates to actual historical events. Was he inspired by reading something particular about the opening of Parliament? Did he end up taking liberties with any historical aspects for the sake of the story? I would love to know the answers to these and many more questions.

    Before the Storm is a great read. And dare I say it… this book is begging for a sequel.

  2. Jenny Mounfield

    Ford St could not have picked a better debut novel. Before the Storm is a highly original tale that brings to mind an unlikely though satisfying marriage between The Terminator and the Bronte sisters. It is an expertly written mix of SF, heart-thudding adventure and humour (with the merest hint of romance). This story delivers on so many levels.

    BC and Fox, two young soldiers from an alternate 21st century, hijack a time weapon and are transported to 1901 Australia. Their aim: to prevent the bombing of the first Australian parliament thereby preventing a century of war. Having been seriously wounded, BC enlists the aid of three Aussie teens in tracking down the would-be bombers. What ensues is an unlikely bond between five very different and complex individuals: The militarily precise BC and Fox, romantically inspired, yet stubbornly feminist Emily, her brother Daniel who dreams of a hero’s death, and local pickpocket cum entrepreneur, Barry the Bag.

    Rather than causing distance, McMullen’s use of an omniscient narrator creates an intimacy with all these characters, and is possibly one of the best uses of the viewpoint I have encountered. There is little doubt McMullen is a master of his craft.
    A thoroughly riveting read, Before the Storm will appeal equally to male and female YA readers everywhere.

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