Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
About Elizabeth Wein
Elizabeth Wein was born in New York, and grew up in England, Jamaica and Pennsylvania. She is married with two children and now lives in Perth, Scotland. Elizabeth is a member of the Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots. She was awarded the Scottish Aero Club’s Watson Cup for best student pilot in 2003 and it was her love of flying that partly inspired the idea for Code Name Verity.
In a cell in Nazi-occupied France, a young woman writes. Like Scheherezade, to whom she is compared by the SS officer in charge of her case, she dribbles out information—“everything I can remember about the British War Effort”—in exchange for time and a reprieve from torture. But her story is more than a listing of wireless codes or aircraft types. Instead, she describes her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who flew them to France, as well as the real details of the British War Effort: the breaking down of class barriers, the opportunities, the fears and victories not only of war but of daily life. She also describes, almost casually, her unbearable current situation and the SS officer who holds her life in his hands and his beleaguered female associate, who translates the narrative each day. Through the layers of story, characters (including the Nazis) spring to life. And as the epigraph makes clear, there is more to this tale than is immediately apparent. The twists will lead readers to finish the last page and turn back to the beginning to see how the pieces slot perfectly, unexpectedly into place. – Kirkus Reviews
Elizabeth Wein’s ‘Code Name Verity’: Thrilling WWII spy drama for young adults
The Washington Post Book Review – July 31, 2012 (Excerpt)
A spy during World War II, Julie is known by many names: Queenie, Eva, Scottie, Lady Beaufort-Stuart. But to English pilot Maddie Brodatt, she is a best friend “full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous.” This gripping story opens in occupied France. Julie has been captured and is being forced to write a confession for a Nazi interrogator. To keep herself alive for a possible rescue, she must weave a tale that’s compelling (and informative) enough to keep him reading day after day. Julie writes on hotel stationery, recipe cards and the sheet music of a Jewish flutist, slowly providing the details demanded about her mission and plane, which was piloted by Maddie and lost in the French countryside.
This heart-in-your-mouth adventure has it all: a complex plot, a vivid sense of place and time, and resonant themes of friendship and courage. Practical Maddie and mischievous Julie are brought to life through their vibrant narrative voices and intriguing backstories, and allusions to J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” deepen their alternating tales. In one poignantly humorous scene, as a guest at Julie’s home in Scotland, Maddie dines upon a precious egg boiled by her friend’s wounded brother and eight chatty, bombed-out “Lost Boys” taken in by the aristocratic family. In this powerful work of historical fiction, Julie and Maddie need never fear “flying alone”; the reader will soar with them until the final page. [Read the full article...]
Code Name Verity
The Christian Science Monitor Book Review – December 20, 2012 (Excerpt)
Aviation, espionage, World War II, emergency landings/crashes, POWs, the Gestapo – this is starting to sound like a very male kind of story, isn’t it?
Not at all, actually. Code Name Verity is a powerful young adult novel (aimed at readers ages 14 and up) starring two dynamic female protagonists. Author Elizabeth Wein, a pilot herself, spun her story after learning about Britain’s civilian Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) – a World War II organization that employed a number of female pilots.
“Code Name Verity” tells the intertwined stories of Maddie, a gutsy working-class woman who flies for the ATA, and “Verity,” a glamorous Scot useful to British intelligence because of the perfect French and German she learned in her Swiss boarding school. [Read the full article...]
Painted Wings and Giants’ Rings
A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
The loss of innocence, when “painted wings and giants’ rings made ways for other toys” is the central theme of this festival of children’s dream world adventures against the harsh reality of adult life.
In his newest novel, Wilfried F. Voss delivers a unique and insightful view into a child’s world and how it relates to the harsh reality of adult life, in this case the life of Roger Wilkinson, a businessman who is haunted by childhood memories and the ultimate fear of mistreating his own children. Wilkinson is in a coma after a car accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike, and he does not respond to physical stimulation. The doctor, assuming psychological issues, describes his condition as dwelling in a dark place. Consequently, Roger’s children, Patrick and Siobhan, decide to rescue their father from the dark place and bring him to Never-Neverland, because, in their view, nobody dies in Never-Neverland.
Painted wings, childhood’s great defender, And giants’ rings are such great splendor. Keep these treasures, don’t grow old In a world of tears and full of cold. - The Faery’s Silly Song
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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