The main character of this book, Tom Hazard, has a strange condition which means that he only ages 1 year for every approximately 15 normal years. This means that he lives for a VERY LOOOOOOOOOONG time! Born in 1581, he currently only looks about 41 years old. People like this have to keep moving and changing identities to avoid awkward questions and in fact his mother was killed as a witch once his aging stopping when he reached puberty. There’s a secret society of people with this condition, calling themselves the Albatross Society which helps to protect them from governments or biotech companies which might want to exploit them to work out their aging secrets.
After falling in love as a young man, and having to leave his wife and daughter to avoid the suspicions of people around him, his broken heart leaves him unable to form strong relationships. He spends his time pining for his daughter, who turned out to be long-lived like him but who disappeared before he found out. He begins to work as a history teacher in London (obviously he’s pretty knowledgeable about history in general, he’s lived it) and he starts to question his life when he meets the beautiful French teacher.
Jumping back and forth through historical eras makes this story really fun and exciting and he meets a number of historical characters, including Shakespeare. The book also has a wistful feel as he philosophises on time and memory and finding yourself and having a purpose in life.
I’d recommend this book to both adults and students from middle school up. In the vein of the Time Traveller’s Wife, I thought it was both a lovely story and a rollicking adventure.