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Time's Children

(The Islevale Cycle #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A time traveler trapped in a violent past must protect the orphaned child of a murdered sovereign and find a way home, in this astonishing epic fantasy novel.

Fifteen year-old Tobias Doljan, a Walker trained to travel through time, is called to serve at the court of Daerjen. The sovereign, Mearlan IV, wants him to Walk back fourteen years, to prevent a devastating war which
Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Angry Robot
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  192 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've never read the author's other works but that doesn't really matter here. I was caught by the description alone.

It's a high-fantasy time-travel novel!

Yup. So we have all the goodies of messed up timelines, time-walkers, and similar time/space practitioners in a magic rule system seated in a heavily world-built fantasy world! All the benefits of a kingdom built from scratch AND the breaking of it several times during different periods of its history!


And I wasn't disappointed in the text
Marta Cox
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, my-reviews
I’ve never read anything by this author before but was intrigued by the synopsis of this book. It’s actually the second time travel story that I’ve read recently but this is far from the standard sci fi or paranormal fare and is actually a fantasy piece. Essentially we have three types of what’s known as Walkers and some can travel distance, others can even penetrate through objects and the rarest of all can move through time. They all have innate abilities but use golden devises bound with magi ...more
Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)
3.5 Stars

*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

A 15-year-old in a 29-year-old body, stuck 14 years in the past, trying to keep a baby safe and change the future for the better. That was a premise that caught my attention. It's unique and intriguing but also very heavy and sad when you realize that no one, especially a teenager, should have to sacrifice that much or have that much responsibility put on their shoulders. But I'm getting ahead of
Elizabeth McLennan
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
It's no secret that I love anything to do with time travel (Doctor Who anyone!) When I saw the synopsis of Time's Children, I knew that it would be a book that I loved and would just speed read through, and I did.

Right from the opening salvo you are drawn into this world. The different types of magic Walkers, Spanners and Crossers encompass movement through time and space. This enables people with the talent to either walk through time, move through solid matter or cover great distances is a sma
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved the world building, in particular the interesting magic with devastating consequences and the chilling demons that you learn to love. Enjoyed the various viewpoint characters and was pleasantly surprised to see one or two when their plot arcs began. The ending was not what I was expecting, but sets up nicely for a thrilling sequel.

I haven't read many time travel stories, and I certainly haven't seen much of it in fantasy. But I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to Time's Demon nex
Hélène Louise
What an excellent surprise! Time’s Children was an excellent read, intelligent, original and thorough. The book is rather long, but doesn’t show, the reading is always easy and satisfying, quite enjoyable.

I really like reading fantasy stories but can be easily disappointed. I love personality and good writing, but can’t stand thoroughly longish sadistic descriptions, so frequently used to create some kind of dramatic? serious? adult? atmosphere. Young adult fantasy can be great but is often (and
Lynn K : Grimmedian
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Highly recommended for lovers of dark fantasy, portal fantasy, and grim flintlock.
Recommended to Lynn K by: Paige L. Christie
Both a portal and flintlock fantasy, Time’s Children creates an intricate world and an emotionally gripping story. Portal fantasies have long been a favorite and the time travel which is central to the story creates myriad plot loopholes which can be very difficult to write well, and D.B. Jackson does so with aplomb and great style. There are so many effects of each action that must be taken into account and so much additional detail to the plot that requires a well thought out story line. Obvio ...more
Cheyanne Lepka
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book mixes time travel and fantasy seamlessly in a secondary world, and presents it in an impossible to put down package. The time travel in this book is top notch, never losing the fantasy feel, while still adding all the best time travel elements. My favourite twist is how when the walkers travel through time, they age the number of years they’ve travelled. This really ups the stakes for the characters, as they have a lot of lose by travelling so far into the past. The world-building is s ...more
Amy Hoodock
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent!! I highly recommend it!
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 / 5 stars

Originally reviewed on:

Time’s Children was one heck of an entertaining read—especially on the heels of another bit of time travel fiction—a time travel fantasy that was an interesting bit of genre-cross that I’d not experienced before. As always, Jackson’s writing is lovely; attaining a classic fantasy feel while painting a vividly colorful world full of deep and insightful characters. This is my 9th book by the author (4 as David B. Coe, 5 und
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, time-travel
I’ve been a fan of D.B. Jackson’s books (aka David B. Coe) for a long time and have read many of his books. A long time ago, I emailed him when reading the Winds of the Forelands series after finishing the Lon Tobyn Chronicles. I had been impressed with the way he wove the tale in such a way that I could completely empathize with the antagonists of the novels, even though I disagreed with their methods. Powerful stuff and I admired his skill in getting into the heads of all his characters so wel ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 4.0 of 5

Mearlan IV, the ruler of Daerjen is looking to add a Walker to his retinue. That Walker is 15 year old Tobias Doljan. A Walker is someone with thew ability and training to walk backward and forward in time - usually to give important messages to someone to watch out or be careful about something. And of course a ruler such as Mearlan wants to make sure he has a Walker to warn him about dangers. But Mearlan has a job for T
Alexia Cambaling
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

I requested Time’s Children from Angry Robot Books on NetGalley partly because of its unique and interesting premise. Basically, a fifteen-year old boy travels fourteen years back in time. Doing so had some pretty interesting consequences for our character, Tobias. Basically, every time he travels through time, he ages. So, when he was sent on a mission to try and prevent a war fourteen years before the start of a war, he arrives looki
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: time-travel
3.5 stars.
I have such mixed feelings about this book, and I wish I didn't.
On the one hand, for a book as long as it is, it is extremely readable. The flow is great. The characters are engaging, and though the point of view jumps around some there was no instance where I went "Ugh, them again. Can't we get back to (more interesting character)?" The most active antagonist is developed enough that we feel some sympathy for him even as we dislike the choices he's making, which I felt was a slight w
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley in return for an un-biased review.

I’ve loved a good time travel story since the old days when I saw a double header of Back to the Future and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure at a drive in movie theater. Yes … I am old. (ha!) I loved the twisty-turny way it made my brain feel. What if Marty met himself? What if his parents figured out who he was. What if someone died and it eliminated his timeline? Time travel can be tricky! Time’s Children is not afra
John Purvis
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Time's Children" eBook was published in 2018 and was written by D. B. Jackson ( Mr. Jackson has published six novels. This is the first of his "Islevale Cycle" series. 

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set in another world where magic is possible. The primary character is fifteen-year-ol
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I picked this up kind of on a whim, as the cover and the story looked interesting. A time travel tale in a fantasy setting? I found the concept very interesting.

The execution however left much to be desired. The book started well enough, introducing us to the world and the characters as Tobias heads out for his assignment. But when he arrives is when things take a bad turn.

At first I thought this was the author’s first book, so I was willing to forgive some flaws. But since I discovered he’s wr
Unfortunately, I had to quit at the 60% point of D.B. Jackson's 2018 novel "Islevale, Book 1: Time's Children" because of a torture scene. Adding to the problem with the torture, itself, is the fact that all the protagonists in the book are, with some qualifications, youths (about 16 years old). Up to that point in the book, I was fairly impressed with the story, characters and writing. Of course, I did have severe problems with the entire basis of the book: magical time travel. Jackson got it e ...more
Maxine Robinson
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2018
A great read.

I've had a hard time trying to articulate exactly what I thought made this book special. It's quite unassuming. It was a book that I found myself willing to put down at night, not because it was bad or I was bored, but because I wanted it to last as long as possible. I savoured it, I enjoyed the writing and the characters and I didn't want to rush it. It was almost a heavy read, a book that made you feel for Tobias and his struggle.

Tobias is a wonderful character. He is devoted to h
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As an aspiring writer myself, David B. Coe / D. B. Jackson is one of my biggest inspirations. I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him speak about this book at JordanCon '18. When I heard he was returning to epic fantasy, I was ecstatic.

The LonTobyn Chronicles was one of the series that got me into epic fantasy (and showed me how to properly blend genres) and and the Forelands books are in my top 10 series of all time.

Time's Children did not disappoint. Jackson has a way of making stor
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
closer to 3.5 stars.

Listened to the audiobook version. I don't think I would have finished it had it been the book version.

If you want to think about it in pop references, it's a little Yesterday's Enterprise, a little Freaky Friday, a little Juno. Lots of angst.

But that is not being fair. It is a time travel book, set in a flintlock era. There is a war going on, it is not going well for the protagonist's side. He travels back in time. Something bad happens.

It makes more sense when you are readi
May 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
In this fantasy world there's Spanners, Walkers, and another group I can't remember. The first have the ability to travel great distances in a moment, the second can travel backwards in time, and then return, and the third can walk through walls but no one does that in this book. Tobias is a Walker, and is tasked with going back farther than anyone has. The catch is, he'll age those years he travels, too. There's also some demons -- creatures with abilities of their own. But for such a fat book, ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book took me a long time to read. For some reason I had a hard time getting through to the end. I picked the book up and put it down so many times over the last month or so. But I didn't try to read any other book during that time, which usually if I'm having a hard time finishing a book I'll just go ahead and start a new one, so that says something about the story pulling me enough to keep picking up the book in hopes of getting to the last page. And it was worth the read. I liked the plot ...more
Fifteen-year-old Tobias time Walks back to try and save a kingdom and ends up in a 29-year-old body.

This is a book that I should have just allowed myself to stop reading. I kept thinking I would like it more but this didn't happen. I'm racking this one up to a 'it's just not for me' - I think the book was fine. It's too slow-paced for me (and at 500 pages, that's a problem), had too much description for me (the room, the building, the city, the voyage), and not enough happened. If you like a slo
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jackson's writing is amazing and his storytelling skills are wonderful and delightful. Jackson never ceases to provide a good story and excellent writing.As of late i have somewhat fallen out of the fantasy genre, as I have been turned off by other authors given my preferences, but I will come back to the genre if he writes a story because of him.

Time traveling if done right, which in this book has, can make for a fascinating story. A 14 going on 30 story, seriously one of the downsides of time
Stacey Kondla
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The twist on time travel hooked me with this one - to travel through time costs you years, you age prematurely physically, but are the same age mentally and emotionally as when you travelled or “walked”
Aside from the cool twist on time travel, Time’s Children offers interesting, sympathetic characters who are in a tough spot with no easy answers. Great world building, intriguing politics, and time demons (who I want to know better because they are repulsive and fascinating at the same time)
I ea
Realms & Robots
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Time’s Children is a tour-de-force, setting a fascinating tale of magic and intrigue amidst a world filled with dark corners and creatures who are not to be trusted. I loved every part of this book, and applaud the author on creating a compelling story filled with brilliantly rendered scenes, settings and details that made the world come alive. Prepare to be swept away by the tides of this masterful story.

Full review at:

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this tale, though that is not a surprise. I loved the Thieftaker series by Mr. Jackson. A young man is given a challenge that leads him, and his world, into a new and dangerous reality. He accepts it, grows into it and pursues safety for both himself and his charge. The characters are complex and interesting, even ones considered demons. Time travel, and all the twists and choices involved with it, what's not to love? I look forward to book 2. ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I dig this one.

I'm iffy on time travel stories. It's too easy to use it as a Get out of jail free card. I like the cost to the travelers.... Though it's created a sticky wicket in that were I in our protagonist's shoes, I'm not sure I'd have agreed so quickly to give up 14 years of my life for a Royal house I'd only just met, even if the assassins had come for me.

Still, the ensuing adventure is logical and fun. I'll pick up the next book in the series down the road....
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Time travel high fantasy that has excellent world building, engaging characters and fantastically paced storytelling. It's not always the best book, but it's amazing storytelling and that makes up for some of the few faults of the story.

This is probably my favorite new fantasy find/debut (while not technically a debut as I found out the writer has been writing under other pseudonyms for a while) I've read since Sanderson's Elantris.
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D.B. Jackson, author of historical fantasy

D.B. Jackson has been writing fantasy and science fiction under a different pen name for over fifteen years. He has published novels, short stories, and media tie-ins in more than a dozen languages. He also has a Ph.D. in American History, and now, for the first time in his career, he is combining his love of fantasy with his passion for history. His first historical fantasy series, The Thieftaker

Other books in the series

The Islevale Cycle (2 books)
  • Time's Demon (The Islevale Cycle #2)

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