What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

The Homeward Bounders
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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. YA Sci fi. A boy starts in turn of the century London, comes across figures playing these huge board game tables, has to start traveling between tons of worlds because he found them, the games are each a world. [s]

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message 1: by Liz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liz (lizbitbee) | 2 comments So I remember first buying this book from a used book store in Australia probably around 2000-2001. Since part of it takes place in London I'm assuming its British. Based off of descriptions I remember for when he comes back to the present (I'll explain the plot in a sec) this may have been published in the 80's or early 90's, but I forget why exactly I thought that.

Starts off a boy of like 13 is a delivery boy for his father's grocery store in early 1900's London. He passes a mysterious building with only a crest of some sort, no title, I think the crest included an anchor or something else nautical. He goes in and finds these creepy figures, like tall men in hoods around huge tables that look like games/topography. They are surprised by him, and send him through a portal or door, I don't think they tell him any rules. He then basically is sent through many worlds, always wondering until he is compelled or pulled to the next portal, sometimes it takes days, sometimes months. He comes across other travelers like himself, but they never seem to be able to stay together, the portals always separate them when its time to leave. There's a party world, a cannibal world, world that is full of fire and violence, and the fellow travelers leave signs to each other near the portals to warn each other what to expect.
At some point he joins up with a girl who has an arm that she can turn into whatever she wants, from a real arm, to an elephant trunk, to, at the end, a sword type thing. Somehow they're able to travel together, and they make it to a world he feels is familiar, but doesn't look like home. Turns out its London, but 80 (?) years in the future and that's why everything feels different. All his family is dead, but he somehow runs into the grandchildren of his sister through a game of cricket. Then he, the girl with the morphing arm, his sisters descendants, and then a large man who for some reason I think is named Genghis Khan (could be that Khan is the actual part of his name and my 10 year old brain added Genghis) end up defeating the creepy guys that were using the worlds as games. But someone has to keep traveling in between worlds to keep them all from falling apart so he is doomed to eternity just traveling and watching all the people he loved die.

I have tried and tried to google the plot of this book, but the plot not very concise or simple, so I have not had any luck. I don't remember the MC's name or any other helpful googling info, so anything you could give me would help out. I have been trying to find this book since my mom gave it away like a decade ago. THANKS


message 2: by Sue (new)

Sue Elleker | 800 comments The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones. I don't think I can add anything else-you seem to have everything but the name!


message 3: by Liz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liz (lizbitbee) | 2 comments Oh my goodness thank you!! That's what was so annoying! I could remember so much but couldn't find it anywhere! Of course its Diana Wynne Jones, makes so much sense. You have just solved a decade long mystery for me.


message 4: by Kris (new)

Kris | 35106 comments Mod
Glad you found your book, Liz. Here's the link for Sue's find - The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones.


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