I am trying to remember the name of a science fiction book I borrowed from a library in BC, sometime between the years 2005–2008. The story is a young adult book which involves time travel:

  • The book is about a city moving counter current with time.
  • The city has nearly completed its journey through time, and is about to end.
  • Two children (a boy and a girl?) are trying to find 5 artifacts, scattered through time, to restart the city.
  • These "anchors" take the form of metal eggs, I think one of lead, copper, gold, etc.
  • One stop includes a future war, where they wear silver robes to stop psychic attacks.
  • When they restart the city, it turns out the main character is the original founder, making the city a time loop.

For a moment, I thought it was The City at the End of Time by Greg Bear, but the plots are entirely different.


1 Answer 1


A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones. It was published in 1987, so well before you read it.

A Tale of Time City

Time City — built far in the future on a patch of space outside time — holds the formidable task of overseeing history, yet it's starting to decay, crumble .... What does that say for the future of the world ... for the past ... for the present? Two Time City boys, determined to save it all, think they have the answer in Vivian Smith, a young Twenty Century girl whom they pluck from a British train station at the start of World War II. But not only have they broken every rule in the book by traveling back in time — they have the wrong person! Unable to return safely, Vivian's only choice is to help the boys restore Time City or risk being stuck outside time forever...

There are four of the artifacts, not five. They are described as:

“The great Faber John made four containers or caskets and hid each of them in one of the Four Ages of the World.” He turned to Vivian. “Faber does indeed mean Smith and the Symbol is the same, but your old ladies came about because you took no notice of the double age-Symbol, which always means time, or an Age of the World if it’s female. To continue.” He read, “The casket made of iron, he concealed in the Age of Iron. The second, which was of silver, he hid in the Silver Age, and the third which was pure gold, in the Age of Gold. The fourth container was of lead and hidden in the same manner. He filled these four caskets with the greater part of his power and appointed to each one a special guardian. In this way he ensured that Time City would endure throughout a whole Platonic Year.”

The egg you remember is not one of the artifacts. It's actually a device called a time-egg that acts like a guide when travelling in time.


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