Running Out of Time

Running Out of Time

By Author / Illustrator

Simon Fox


Suspense & Thrillers

Age range(s)



Nosy Crow Ltd




Paperback / softback




A thrilling, unputdownable debut, with extraordinary twists and incredible action, from an incredible new voice in children's fiction.

'I can steal time.The most I can take at the moment is fifteen seconds, which is not a lot. Grandmother took almost three minutes once and she told me she's done more, but I never saw it.She says there are stories of someone who can take all the time in the world, but how can that be right?'

When Alex and his father are forced to flee their home to escape a brutal government, they begin a life-threatening journey across Europe. But when they are separated before they can reach Britain, Alex finds himself alone, with only his extraordinary gift to keep him alive.

Perfect for fans of Alex Rider, Artemis Fowl, and Inception, Running out of Time is an ingenious, high-concept thriller with a twist that you won't believe.

Find out more from author Simon Fox



Running Out Of Time by Simon Fox is an action packed science fiction thriller that will hold the reader's interest from the very first to the very last page. The story twists and turns as it unravels leaving you guessing right to the end. I love how the story hops between past, present and future, giving great insight into the characters and events that unfold.

Alex, Aleksander, is different from most 14-year olds; he has the unique ability to look into the future and see how events may play out, which he calls called 'stealing time'. At the beginning, he can steal 15 seconds but he is determined to steal more, like his grandmother, who can steal three minutes.  The story centres around Alex and his father, Sav, who are forced to leave and journey across Europe to escape threat from the government and inevitable persecution in their own country. However, they are quickly separated. Alex is left alone with only his unique skill to help him avoid danger.

Running Out Of Time is far more than a brilliant science fiction thriller. It also excellently and delicately exposes the reader to the very relevant and important world issues surrounding refugees, people's journeys to escape danger and the struggles many families encounter along the way.

I highly recommended this book for children aged nine years plus and lovers of Alex Rider and similar stories. This would also be a good read for reluctant readers. I intend to use this book with year 5 children alongside The Journey by Francesca Sanna for discussion around refugees, asylum and migration. Thank you, Simon, what a debut! I can't wait to read more!

304 pages / Reviewed by Nathan Cox, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Before fleeing their home, Dad tells 14-year-old Alex "this isn't a war for the brave, it's a war for the clever. Because we are up against an enemy who won't let us tell anyone what is happening". He has been gathering evidence so that the world will know the truth about his country's treatment of his people, and is stressed enough about capture without having to worry about Alex using his 'gift' - he can see ahead in time.  So Alex must practice his gift in secret until his father finally relents, trusting him to make the final life or death decisions on their journey across Europe to hoped-for freedom in the UK.

In the sordid world of people trafficking, trusting anyone carries huge risk and navigating safe passage seems impossible. It helps to see what others can't; to see how events pan out before they happen and thus make different choices that have better consequences. Alex cannot be sure whether or not those better consequences will make things worse for others, but he can tell who is to be trusted and the right moment to run, to hide, to speak.

For undercover policewoman, Rachel; for Hayley, her daughter; for Ronnie, Max, Stripes and the Head of UK Border Force, Alex's growing proficiency at stealing time may determine not just the course of their operations, but their very lives.

I was gripped by Running Out of Time which has such a contemporary feel, yet manages to employ an element of science-fiction so effectively. Highly recommended for Year 6 (or mature Year 5s) and above. There is violence (and guns do feature), but its description is judicious.

304 Pages / Reviewed by Jane, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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