*Sigh* Now I know how my students feel. I have to wait until October for the next book in this wonderful series.
Again, this was a hefty tome with so much fun stuff going on that I fear I will not do justice to the plot. John, Jack, and Hugo are suddenly sucked away from Oxford into a version of the world where the Archipelago has been overthrown by Mordred is ruling and is now the Winterland. When it becomes apparent that the group needs to use a time travel device left by Jules Verne to make things right (and Hugo, new to the group, gets sucked through yet another time portal), John, Jack and some helpful badgers travel through time to try to determine which of a set of twins is evil, and which is destined to become the Cartographer. Aside from setting fire to the Library of Alexandria, things end up working out fairly well, but the twists and turns kept me making voluble comments even when, as one character puts it, getting my head around everything going on made my "skull hurt".
Wow. The number of literary illusions is truly mindboggling. Linking Arthur's sword in the stone to Aeneas and Mordred to Odysseus? Brilliant (even though I had never heard of Brutus, since he is outside of the classical tradition). And I love how John and Jack can travel to ancient Greece and actually talk to people! There was also a brilliant scene in the Library of Alexander-- you can imagine how incredible it would be for those particular scholars to be able to go there.
I can't wait to see where this story goes, but I am still having trouble believing that Mr. Owen lives in Arizona. I can't help but imagine him in a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, having a cup of tea in his rooms at Oxford with his characters!