It's actually the sequel of a sequel. Published last year, Boyce's effort Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again was the official sequel to the '64 original, sanctioned, as it was, by Ian Fleming Publications to bring into the 21st Century the James Bond creator's other star character, a magical vintage racing car that can fly, chug along water and save others thanks to its kindly but cheeky Herbie-like personality. Replacing the Pott family (Chitty's owners in Fleming's book) with the modern, multi-racial but likeable Tootings family (Dad, Mum, Lucy, Jem and toddler Little Harry) from Basildon, he sent them on an adventure to put Chitty back together from bits of the vehicle they found all over the world.
One of the strengths of its predecessor, though, is at first a flaw this time round. For like Boyce's first story, "Race Against Time" is a breathless ride around the globe - New York City, London, the Lost City of El Dorado and, er, Basildon - and in time - the Cretaceous Period, the Roaring Twenties, the Sixteenth Century and 1966 and all that. So much so, in fact, it seems to kick-off immediately where that book ended, which is probably great for readers of the latter, but means newcomers have to play catch-up while Chitty and the Tootings (all of whom we get to know on the fly and none of whom are actually introduced to us) grapple with Tyrannosaurus Rexes and villains Tiny Jack and Nanny (whom we assume to be a child and his woman guardian because that's not spelt out until much later).
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