Maggie Hope has finally gotten the opportunity she has been waiting for to prove herself. After serving as a secret agent and saving Princess Elizabeth in the previous book, Maggie’s performance has earned her a full-fledged membership into the newly formed black ops organization. She is now a Special Operations Executive—or more commonly known as a spook.
Britain plans to drop her behind enemy lines in Germany where she will bug the office of a high ranking Nazi official who just happens to be her estranged mother. The mission is only supposed to last a couple of days—in and out. But when an opportunity presents itself for Maggie to stay on longer and further infiltrate the German society, she decides to press her luck.
Maggie wants to prove to the British government that she can do this mission. She is the first woman spy to be given such a dangerous mission. No one thinks she is ready or has the ability to complete the mission, especially her contact in Germany. The odds of her successfully completing this mission are against her.
In her mind, she is prepared. She has trained for this moment and she feels that she is mentally prepared for the things she is about to witness in Germany. She thinks she is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice should the need arise…the British government issues a cyanide capsule to all spies as a ‘just in case’ option after all! She has thought of every possible scenario….so she thinks, but Maggie soon discovers more than she bargained for in Germany, both professionally and personally.
Maggie’s personal life has been a shamble for awhile now. Her fiancé, John Sterling, went missing in action and is presumed dead. While grieving for John, she meets Hugh who is also a spy.
She isn’t sure how she feels about Hugh, she loves him but hesitates giving her whole heart to him especially after losing John. She also has a convoluted relationship with her father who also happens to work in intelligence and her mother who she thought was dead is now a leader in the Nazi party. So needless to say she has a lot of unresolved issues and feelings that threaten to spill over in her professional life.
Before Maggie knows it, she is in over her pretty little red head!
Maggie’s character has evolved dramatically since the first book in the series! Gone is the innocent maths genius who goes to work for Mr Churchill! I have mixed feelings about how Maggie has evolved in this book. Part of my really enjoys the evolution of her character. I like that she isn’t a pristine, naive child…she is flawed and has skeletons in her closet…I think that makes her more realistic and interesting—it makes her human.
However, I just didn’t expect her character to start going so ‘dark’….it kind of makes me sad to see her on a path to self destruction, but I do have confidence that she will pull out of this dark place and get back to a better version of who she was before.
Susan Elia MacNeal does a nice job demonstrating how war changes things….life, countries, politics, and people….which is why I wasn’t turned off by Maggie’s character changes. I liked that Elia MacNeal isn’t afraid to take her character into an entirely new direction–uncharted territory if you will. She has written Maggie’s character so well that this new path that she is on doesn’t put readers off…if anything it makes me excited to read the next book to see how Maggie continues to evolve.
The author clearly knows her WWII history! She was able to recreate a realistic war time London and Berlin. She has consistently brought rich historic and war time details, and spy history to all the Maggie Hope novels which have made them all wonderfully engaging and educational as well. I adore this series!
The only things that I found difficult with this novel compared to the others were the multiple story-lines In the other books there were only a couple of other plots happening, but in this one there seemed to be a lot going on and I found that a little challenging. There was Maggie’s story, Elise, David, Hugh, Herr Mystery, Frieda and her Jewish husband….just a lot happening for me. I would have liked to see things a little more focused.
Another thing I would like to talk about for a quick minute…..can we just stop and admire that cover? All of the Maggie Hope novels have stunning covers! I love the vibrant colors and design. Truth be told, I would read the series just for the covers! I think they capture what the series is all about. There is an element of mystery to the design but also the colors suggest excitement and allure. Elia MacNeal’s cover designer is fantastic!
If you haven’t discovered this series yet, you are missing out! Maggie’s adventures are always electrifying with danger just a breath away! Grab that red lipstick and your parachute and get ready for a thrilling historic spy novel full of mystery, espionage, and love!
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Bantam
ISBN 0345536738 (ISBN13: 9780345536730)
- Review copy provided by: Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review
This book counts toward: 2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
- Hosted by: Historical Tapestry
- Books for Challenge Completed: 10/15
Recommendation: 5 out of 5 (a thrilling spy/mystery series)
Genre: Historic fiction, thriller, mystery, detective novels, spy novels
Memorable lines/quotes: NA