Series: Secrets & Spies #1
Published by Curious Fox on June 6th 2013
Fourteen-year-old Beth Johnson is a talented and beautiful young actress. She is also a spy. The year is 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but all is not well in the bustling city of London, and there are those who would gladly kill the king and destroy the Monarchy. One morning, a mysterious ghost ship drifts up the Thames. Sent to investigate by the King’s Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, Beth quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous adventure. Will Beth be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it’s too late?
It’s been a while since I’ve read a middle-grade book but since the years are passing far too quickly and my nephew is rapidly approaching that age category I’ve been mentally making a note of books I hope we can enjoy together once he realises that while yes Lego is full of awesome, books are even cooler as is his bookworm aunt…wishful thinking? Let’s not go there. So I was excited to have the opportunity to review the new SECRETS & SPIES series by Jo MacAuley.
In book one we meet Beth Johnson. 14 years old, she is already making waves on the stage as one of London’s most talented young actresses, taking advantage of Charles II’s decree allowing females take to the stage. She also has other hidden talents and is a spy tasked with ensuring the safety of the King himself.
When a mysterious ship drifts up the Thames sparking rumours of an impending War Beth must team up with fellow teen spy Ralph and young naval clerk John to ensure the safety of the King and England.
I really enjoyed Treason. Beth is a spunky, intelligent and courageous heroine, keen to look out for her friends and meet any task set by the mysterious spy master Sir Alan Strange. I enjoyed her relationship with fellow waif Maisie and how protective she was of the young girl. Her unwillingness to be pushed around by fellow Thespian Benjamin Lovett and her quick wit was enjoyable to read.
I liked how MacAuley weaved the plot around the infamous Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes, it introduced just enough history to spark an interest for the age group the books are aimed at while not overwhelming the reader with too many facts that might take away from the overall adventure.
The characters of Ralph and John were equally as entertaining as Beth and their exploits together were thrilling for middle-grade readers.
TREASON is the first in a series of exciting adventures featuring an irrepressible heroine and her fellow cohorts filled with an unquenchable thirst for mystery and brimming with courage. Highly recommend for the pre-teens!