Brooke Shaffer

Author, Ski Patroller, and Pasta-Eater Extraordinaire

Tick Tock

Walter Forbes is dying.  He took three bullets to save his son, but the poison remains, wreaking havoc on his body while he lies in a coma.  Earth-side doctors are helpless, Time-side tricks are useless, and Tommen is told repeatedly to make his peace now.

But Tommen is unwilling to give up without a fight, and he is prepared to go to any lengths to find a cure, even if that means risking slavery to the Borelians and causing a civil war within the Time industry.

As he treads dangerous waters, a message arrives: there is a cure for Walter's ailment, but the journey is perilous, easily a one-way street if he missteps in any way.  Even if he does survive long enough to get the cure back to his dad, Tommen risks losing his Apprenticeship, or worse, charges of treason, the punishment for which is having his clock broken, a fate worse than death.

Meanwhile, political gears are grinding as the elections heat up, and at least one person involved has his eyes on a much bigger prize than just the Zero Hour.

FAQ (Contains Spoilers)

Q: How does the petitioning and cases and everything work as far as scheduling?  How do the Hands have time to do anything if they're sitting in court all day?
A: They'll hear cases all day for several days a week, then take a few days to do other things.  Prioritizing.  It's a wonderful thing.  For Cassius, though, as long as the true Zero Hour is holding court, he's free to get into whatever mischief he pleases.

Q: How do you pronounce "xur" and "xresa" etc.?
A: Funny you should ask.  For the lazy, you may simply pronounce the "x" as a "z" to get "zur" and "zresa."  However, the intended sound is one actually found in Welsh rendered as "ll."  The IPA for this sound is [ɬ] and is officially called a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative.  For the layman, put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth like you are going to make a normal "l" sound, and blow out, like a hiss.

Q: If Sifura has the ability to open and close portals at will, why not get out of sight of the oasis, then open a portal to the other side of the desert and walk or skim up to the jungle?
A: Sifura adheres closely to ritual and formality.  Being of a mind where they had to carry supplies and gifts and do everything "properly," such a thing probably never occurred to her just because of habit.

Q: How did Foyez get to be a Warden in Tick Tock, if he was a Gatekeeper in Time to Kill?
A: Training under Rifun is decidedly frowned upon by the Hands and probably would not have been recorded or accepted as legit training.

Q: So what is Tommen's second gift from Walter?
A: And his second gift is...found in the next book.



To get you in the mood for reading, here is a selection of music just for this book.

  1. The Older I Get - Skillet
  2. Across the Universe of Time - Hayley Westenra
  3. The Unwinding Cable Car - Anberlin
  4. Through the Black - Demon Hunter
  5. Godspeed - Anberlin
  6. Big Rock Candy Mountains
  7. You Fight Me - Breaking Benjamin
  8. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Casting Crowns
Obligatory legalese: This is for fun only, and it doesn't mean that these artists promote or endorse this book, or are even aware of its existence.

Safebooks Ratings

Language: 5/10

Considerations: Type of language, frequency, and context


Violence: 4/10

Considerations: Type of violence, frequency, graphic detail


Sexual References: 7.5/10

Considerations: Type of reference, explicit content, context