Sunday, May 22, 2016

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity #1), Elizabeth Wein (author), Morven Christie (narrator), Lucy Gaskell (narrator)

Bolinda Publishing, June 2012

Code Name Verity opens with a young woman, a prisoner of the Germans in France during World War II, writing the confession they have demanded of her, in order to escape the torture she hasn't been able to withstand. As the story progresses, it become clear we are getting the stories of two young women. Onc is Maddie, daughter of a bicycle shop owner, who  rescues a pilot from a crashed plane, starting a chain of events leading to her becoming a transport pilot once the war starts. The other is a young woman called Queenie, initially a wireless operator, who speaks German. She gets recruited first as a translator, and then as an interrogator.

Both women want to contribute more directly to the war effort.

In alternating chapters, we get the prisoner's account of Maddie's experiences, and her meeting with and growing friendship with Queenie, and the prisoner's experiences in the hotel the Germans have made their prison. And, gradually, we begin to understand her motivation and the real goal of her actions.

There's lots of tension and excitement, here, but also lots of character development. Wein explores what was until recently a largely overlooked part of the war: the participation of women in quite dangerous, critical wartime activities, including both espionage and the movement of planes. This was both an absorbing novel, and a fascinating look at a part of the war that was neither armed clashes nor cracking codes.

Recommended.

I bought this book.