This is a book I picked up from the library when I was really young, but I found it way too big for me and gave up after a chapter or so. Now I want to give it another shot but can't seem to find it.

This was about 2016–18, though the book was quite worn, so it may have been a lot older. Some details may be rusty.

So the book starts with what I'm pretty sure was an older man showcasing a time machine to a crowd, but it doesn't work and injures him.

Then there is a part about a guy in modern times who deciphers an ancient, I think, stone, finds his name in it, and freaks out.

Then a group of people (YA?) time travel back from the future to his house since they think he is in danger but don't reveal themselves. When they leave, a girl in the group leaves her jacket behind on accident, which had a movie ticket for a show in the future, and the guy figures out that they are from the future.

This is where I gave up. The cover had prominently red colours from what I remember.

  • Adding the year, or at least rough timeframe, when you read this would be helpful (given that we do not know when you were really young), Commented May 6 at 6:55
  • I'd say it was like 2016-18 around don't think the book was new cover was worn out but then again library book so hard judge
    – RandomGuy
    Commented May 6 at 7:51
  • This just sounds so much like the plot of a Doctor Who novel from the 90s or maybe the 00s - but so far I haven't found one that matches! Commented May 6 at 17:25
  • 1
    Am a fairly recent whovian but its def not dr who @Astrid_Redfern
    – RandomGuy
    Commented May 7 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


The Doomsday Code (2011) by Alex Scarrow, third book of the "TimeRiders" series.

From Goodreads:

Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026.

But all three have been given a second chance—to work for an agency that no one knows exists. Its purpose: to prevent time travel destroying history...

In 1993 British computer hacker Adam Lewis finds his name in a coded manuscript that is almost one thousand years old. How did Adam’s name get in there... and why?

Confronted by Adam in 2001, the TimeRiders travel back to Sherwood Forest in 1193 to discover the origins of the ancient message. But when a strange hooded man appears interested in the same thing, they begin to wonder what terrible threat this cryptic link from the past holds for the future...

The following scene has the part with the forgotten jacket containing a ticket to a future event:

He decided that the sensible little voice in his head was most probably right, that this was a sign it was time to go see a campus councillor. And maybe, just maybe, he or she could explain to him in a perfectly rational way how come he’d found a message, written in modern English, in a document nearly a thousand years old; how come he was imagining visitations from time-travel girls from the future.

He laughed at how crazy it all sounded.

He was just about ready to admit he’d gone completely insane and help when he noticed a twist of paper on his bed where the girl – Maddy, that’s the name; that’s what your hallucinated visitor called herself, wasn’t it? – had placed her jacket. He reached over tentatively to pick it up, hoping it was just one more example of his mind playing tricks on him and it would vanish in a puff of delusion before he even managed to touch it.

Only it didn’t.

‘Errr … Adam to Mission Control … it’s, uhh … it’s …’ he muttered, turning the twist of coloured paper over in his hand. ‘This is real? Right? I’m not hallucinating this, am I?’

Mission Control had nothing useful to add at this point in time.

He looked closely at the paper in his hand. It was a ticket stub. An entry ticket to what appeared to be a nightclub or a bar or something. The address was West 51st Street, New York. What’s more, it had a date and an admission time stamped faintly like ticker-tape along the bottom.

20:21 – 09-09-2001.

All of a sudden he felt light-headed: dizzy and queasy, excited and terrified all at the same time. He looked again at the faintly printed time and date: 9 September 2001, seven years from now, the girl who’d just left his room was going to go to this New York nightclub.

The book cover is mostly red.

book cover, mostly red, shady hooded character holding an arrowhead

Found with the Google query book time travel man decipher finds his name site:goodreads.com/book.

  • Omg tq soo much u have no joke ended like a couple year long uggh what is that book
    – RandomGuy
    Commented May 11 at 4:35

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