Paperback: 368pp

Published: Lightning Books (August 2023)

ISBN: 9781785633423

The Rebel of Time

Craig Andrew Mooney


Doran West can travel through the ages. But so can his enemies...

‘Expertly weaves Scottish history into a thrilling time-travel adventure’

Sophie Cameron

Welcome to the one-street village of Linntean in the Scottish Highlands. It’s great for tourists, less so for local teenager Doran West. He and his best friend Zander crave a change of scenery, some excitement. What they have in mind is a weekend away to the nearest city. Fate has a little more in store.

An accident while fleeing school bullies leads Doran to an extraordinary discovery: he can travel in time. What’s more, he isn’t alone. There are others who share his gifts, hiding in plain sight and tied to a shadowy organisation called the Eternalisium.

With Zander in tow, he embarks on a terrifying odyssey through the ages, risking death on the gallows and battlefield, contending with ruthless enemies from the future and learning more than he’d like about his own adult self.

Mind-bending, thrilling and funny, The Rebel of Time bounces from Robert the Bruce’s Bannockburn to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Tuscany, with stops in Hollywood and the First World War trenches, in a spellbinding adventure from a masterful new storyteller.


Doran West charged through the overgrown grass and hurdled over fence after fence. These were his fields, his home. He had the advantage.

Time was running out and he ignored the prickly sweat forming in his hair and on his face. The main road was in sight; he was almost there.

He vaulted over a crumbling drystone wall and stopped, taking in the cloudless sky. Catching his breath, he closed his eyes, the June sun warming his face.

And that’s when he heard the school bus drive past him.




Doran West charged through the overgrown grass and hurdled over fence after fence. These were his fields, his home. He had the advantage.

Time was running out and he ignored the prickly sweat forming in his hair and on his face. The main road was in sight; he was almost there.

He vaulted over a crumbling drystone wall and stopped, taking in the cloudless sky. Catching his breath, he closed his eyes, the June sun warming his face.

And that’s when he heard the school bus drive past him.


Following a swift kick at the gravel, he noticed Mrs Angus, the semi-professional gossip who spent her retirement glued to her living room window. He provided the customary smile and wave his mum had taught him to the old busybody and trudged in the direction of his school. After all, what choice did he have? One more missed day and his mum was sure to be called in. Then he would be subjected to a meeting with a bunch of sour-faced adults taking it in turns to outline their disappointment in him. Or better yet, utter the six words every teacher seemed programmed to say: ‘We expect much more from you.’ There was nothing for it. A hike it must be.

The walk to school, while long, was described by many a tourist as ‘unbelievably picturesque’. And Doran supposed that was true. Objectively speaking. He imagined outsiders would be enchanted by such a view. The arrogant trio of mountains with their perfectly pointed snow-topped peaks. Who did they think they were? And then there was the winding ‘devastatingly blue’ loch, to quote another enthralled passer-by. A stretch of hydrogen and oxygen molecules that got lucky. That’s all it was.

Doran reached a white sign which stated in big bold letters, ‘YOU ARE NOW LEAVING LINNTEAN THANK YOU FOR VISITING’. He paused for a moment, as he always did, and glared at the black letters. Were they taunting him?

The village of Linntean was located in the Scottish Highlands, with nothing but remote islands to the west. The sort of places where puffins outnumber humans by about five to one. The village itself consisted of one main road winding around the houses, and various local businesses, clinging to the one place commercialism hadn’t yet found.

The village didn’t have enough people to warrant its own high school, which meant that those of age from the surrounding villages had to get the bus to a central academy. Five miles and two throbbing feet later, Doran reached this school’s large, rusted gates and hobbled to the main entrance.

Glenmoral Academy was split into two large box-shaped buildings, connected by a cylindrical red structure. The building had been painted that colour to mask its overwhelming dullness and to try to hide its need for renovation.

Doran arrived at the front door and pressed the buzzer for reception. He met the familiar gaze of Mrs Hunter, the head of the school office, whose beady eyes had seen multiple generations of the community pass through the school. According to Doran’s mum, her ‘winning’ personality was nothing new. The pair performed what had become their habitual greeting for one another: Mrs Hunter raising a thin, wispy eyebrow at him, Doran replying with a small shrug and the slightest of smiles before being allowed to enter.

Mrs Hunter wrenched open the reception window. ‘You’re late, Doran West.’

‘Mrs Hunter, how are we this morning?’ Doran said, resting his elbows on the counter.

‘You would think by sixteen years of age you’d have learnt to keep time,’ Mrs Hunter said. ‘This is the tenth time this year you have shown up whenever it has suited you.’

‘The bus was early. You would think that by fifty, Jack would be starting to slow down.’

Mrs Hunter narrowed her eyes. ‘Just like your father; always a quick answer.’

Doran fought to keep his face neutral. ‘Yeah, well I wouldn’t know, would I?’ he said before tapping the counter. ‘Be a pal and sign me in.’

It was 10:40, which meant he should be in History with Mr Bishop, a young, newly qualified teacher with an inordinate amount of enthusiasm. Doran reached the open classroom door and all thirty sets of eyes fell on him. It was always a downside to being late. The attention. A few extra minutes in bed didn’t seem a fair exchange for their judgemental stares.

‘Ah, Doran. Nice of you to join us,’ Mr Bishop said, not a trace of sarcasm in his voice. ‘Take a seat, take a seat. We are just about to learn about some local history.’

A collective groan rumbled through the classroom.

‘Now, now,’ Mr Bishop said, ever the showman trying to placate his audience. ‘Remember, history isn’t just about world wars and bubonic plagues. We are all here as a result of history and some very interesting things might have happened right on your doorstep.’

‘Only thing on my doorstep is what my dog had for lunch, sir,’ came the cocky voice of Kieran McDowall from the back of the room.

This provoked some laughter from the class, a few only joining in out of fear of reprisal from the school’s current alpha male. Doran remained quiet, settling into his seat and trying to blend into the desk and chair.

‘Yes, very amusing, Kieran,’ Mr Bishop said when the laughter died down. ‘But I’m talking about something which is unique to this area and this area alone. I’m talking about why Linntean celebrates Latha an Siubhailadair. Does anyone know why Linntean celebrates Latha an Siubhailadair?’

A small, mousy-haired boy raised a timid hand. ‘Isn’t it to do with Pictish times?’

‘Close,’ Mr Bishop said. ‘Anyone have anything to add?’

A girl at the back of the class shot her hand into the air. ‘Sir? Is it not about remembering people going missing back in olden times and those weird Jedi kinda people you see folk dressing up like?’

‘You’re both dancing around the answer,’ Mr Bishop said with a smile. He turned to the whiteboard and began writing while he explained. ‘Latha an Siubhailadair or “Traveller’s Day” traces its origins to Pictish times, around the same era that the Romans began to invade Britain. Now the Picts would use such a day to remember those of their tribe who had gone missing throughout the past year. Some people believe these disappearances were due to the Romans stealing people away in the night. Perhaps to ship back to Rome as slaves or for some other nefarious purposes. Though this is widely accepted, there is another more mystical and mythological story that I am sure most of you remember drawing pictures about in primary school. It is said that...’

Mr Bishop continued to drone on but Doran’s attention drifted out of the window to the PE lesson outside. He had noticed his best friend, Zander Munro, staggering around the faded running track, panting like a thirsty dog. A smile spread across Doran’s face, knowing exactly what Zander would be thinking at that moment. Firstly, how to successfully get away with killing their PE teacher, Mr Urquhart, and secondly, how to make light of his distinct lack of ability. Zander had always been short for his age and, with little need for persuasion, had taken on the role of the year’s jokester.

Sure enough, as he approached the finish line, he slowed down, raising his arms in the air like a rock star trying to get the audience to make some noise. The rest of his class, who had finished a full minute ago, began clapping and whooping, much to the annoyance of Mr Urquhart. Zander came to a complete stop, cupping his hand behind his ear. The class grew louder and more animated, and he nodded in appreciation of their response. He feigned a run-up, then dashed to the finish line, performing a dive forward roll and ending in a seated position. He raised his arms as a gymnast might to indicate the completion of their routine, waiting humbly for the applause. It came in floods, and he stood and bowed, shaking a few hands before coming to a stop in front of Mr Urquhart. Zander also grabbed his hand and shook it firmly, patting his teacher on the arm. It was then that Doran finally let out the snort of laughter he had been trying so hard to suppress.

‘Something funny about pagan sacrifice, Doran?’ Mr Bishop said.

Doran’s attention snapped back to where it should be. Once again, all eyes were on him. ‘No sir. Sorry,’ he said, sinking even further into his chair.


‘With rich writing and plenty of wit, The Rebel of Time expertly weaves Scottish history into a thrilling time-travel adventure’

Sophie Cameron, author of Out of the Blue and Last Bus to Neverland

‘With magical mysteries, secret societies and a wise-cracking best mate, The Rebel of Time is an exhilarating adventure through time and space. A rich world with relatable characters. I devoured this novel’

Claire McFall, award-winning author of Ferryman

‘An ambitious and inventive romp through time, rich in themes of friendship, family and forging your own destiny’

Darren Simpson, author of Scavengers

‘An exciting, funny YA fantasy adventure with witty, relatable characters. My favourite elements were the focus on male friendships, the character of Zander and the way the author cleverly weaves elements of Pictish legend into the story. A wonderful read from a fabulous debut author’

Lindsay Littleson, award-winning author of The Titanic Detective Agency

‘This opening volume lays the groundwork for what I believe will be one of Scotland’s great fantasy series. Craig Andrew Mooney is a formidable storyteller and The Rebel of Time is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year’

Kenny Boyle, author of The Tick and the Tock of the Crocodile Clock

‘A modern, fantastical adventure through time’

Pierre Novellie, award-winning comedian and writer

‘A pacy Pictish/Celtic-inspired fantasy adventure story full of dangers and intrigue, with a strong, touching and enduring friendship at its core’

Janis Mackay, author of The Accidental Time-Traveller

‘A wonderful debut novel. This writer is one to watch’

Kevin McLeod, author of The Viking’s Apprentice series

‘A compelling and unusual twist on the coming-of-age story with a rare focus on positive male friendships’

Alan Bissett, author of Boyracers




Craig Andrew Mooney

Originally from Dundee, Craig Andrew Mooney is a Scottish actor, writer and producer.

He appeared in the 2019 short film Hideous, which gathered multiple nominations and wins at film festivals, including Best Male Performance for himself. Other notable credits include ITV’s Belgravia and the neo-noir gangster film Mortem. He was also cast in Mile Away Films’ The Difference Between Us, later joining the production team as a writer, and is now Mile Away’s development producer.

The Rebel of Time is his first novel.

Picture: Sonja Blietschau Photography

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