Fiordland has been waiting for them….and you.

Memories of the past call out to those brave enough to dream of an incredible land. Teen twins Seth and Zoe are flung through time once again, returning to the thrilling Fiordland of the past after their secret wish comes true. The siblings find themselves on a private tour of the wonder of Doubtful Sound, following the lead of legendary guide Leslie Murrell through the wild and remote wilderness.

The winding trails of the Wilmot Pass and the dark waters of Deep Cove beckon the young teens to chase their dreams, taking Zoe back to a time where the mighty ocean liner Wanganella is once again moored at Deep Cove, and the power of water becomes industry. Seth’s quest for safety will force him to make a haunting choice, leading him south to the windswept Puysegur Lighthouse, and plunging him into the history of the sea.

Zoe and Seth must steady themselves in the face of great change. For time travellers beware: Fiordland’s promise of adventure is a double-edged sword. In the pursuit of their dreams, these young teens must struggle for their survival deep in the heart of New Zealand’s wild south.

At the edge of the world awaits the adventure of a lifetime – but will the lessons of the past be enough to save them? Only time will tell.

Warning: Hard hat project: No entry beyond this point unless wearing a safety helmet.

For ages 10-14 years and adults who enjoy a good yarn. A standalone sequel to Home from the Homer.

Wondering if you’ll enjoy A Doubtful Detour?

A Doubtful Detour is historical fiction/time travel for ages 10 and up. It is set in Fiordland, New Zealand. It has chapters, so it’s like a novel, and it has a few illustrations and photos as well. Some of the photos are real hunting photos. The storyline follows Home from the Homer, but either book can be read as a standalone.

Zoe and Seth, the twins at the centre of A Doubtful Detour, are 13 years old.

Test-readers have generally been 10-15 years old. Several 10 year olds have read and enjoyed it, and also, depending on their reading level, needed a little bit of help occasionally with a word or two. Every 12 year old that’s read A Doubtful Detour has really enjoyed it and finds it about the right reading level. A range of adults have also read the book and found it an entertaining and thought-provoking yarn as well.

A Doubtful Detour has higher stakes and more risk than Home from the Homer. Both Zoe and Seth face life threatening situations, and there’s some “stranger danger” to deal with, although every other person in the book is helpful and supportive. Resilience, independence, and dealing with emotions are major themes. The storyline includes hunting and whaling, and also touches on the debate over conservation values versus progress. There’s swearing, references to historical – and modern – social values, and discussion of adult relationships. A Doubtful Detour also focuses on tourism, the New Zealand outdoors, nature and history.

Who are the characters in A Doubtful Detour?

The Williams family are fictional (and so is the villain!). The people they meet along the way are not – they’re local identities who’ve all worked, visited or lived in Fiordland in the past. Of course, the story itself, and the conversations between people are fictional – but when you read A Doubtful Detour you’re going back to the past, and meeting people from a different time in a way that lets you see a little bit of what living back then was like. So the way people talk, what they say, and the way things are will be different from what you’re used to now, in 2020. (And there’s no pandemic!) Things were a lot more formal – children would call adults Mr and Mrs as well, not by their first names. Zoe and Seth do this too.

What animals are in A Doubtful Detour?

When you read A Doubtful Detour, you’ll meet the rifleman bird, kea, kaka, seagulls, an albatross, wapiti, the Fiordland crested penguin (tawaki), kererū, kakapo and a range of other native birds. Because A Doubtful Detour is set in the past, there’s also references to the way the names of many New Zealand animals have changed over time. The largest toothed predator in the world will also fight back, based on a historical account from the whaling barque Sapphire. Hint: You’ll see his tail on the cover, and I’m not talking about the kea!

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