Terrifying true events woven into a thrilling story, Ashika Hira
April 27, 2021
The second book in Brian Falkner’s Katipo Joe series, Spycraft, was published in 2021 by Scholastic, and continues on from where we left off at the end of Blitzkrieg. Joe is a British spy during World War 2 and has just come back from Paris and his previous mission, infiltrating the Hitler Youth, when he is whisked away to Germany to take the place of young Jürgen Weyl and enter the belly of the beast. Joe knows next to nothing about this person yet he must forget everything that he once was and become Jürgen. But will he be able to deceive everyone and make it out alive?
Joseph St George is now 15 years old and returning to London after a failed mission when he hears that his mother has been deep undercover in Germany, close to Hitler’s inner circle. However, MI6 has not heard from her for a few weeks, and is unsure whether she has been captured, or worse, is dead. Joe is sent into Germany on what he thinks is a rescue mission to find his mother and return her home, but he soon finds out that it is so much more than a rescue mission. Joe must take the place of Jürgen Weyl and by doing so enters an elite programme designed to find the best of the best. Joe goes into this mission knowing next to nothing, apart from a few details about the person he must become and must learn to play the part of Jürgen Weyl convincingly. This is made harder still by the fact that Joe suspects that someone doubts his cover and could threaten to ruin everything. As Joe learns the true purpose of his mission, and what ‘Jürgen’ is really doing in a hotel on the edge of the isolated Lake Königssee, he must fight to come out on top without revealing that he’s not Jürgen, but in fact a British spy. Joe will come across many enemies and, unusually, a few friends, but who can he truly trust? Or maybe the better question to ask is, who can trust him?
Falkner has done it again, and managed to make this book even better than the first! Through the various characters in this novel we see aspects of ourselves and others, which makes the characters relatable, especially the teens. The decisions and choices that they make cause conflicts to arise within themselves and between each other, and these actions are relatable to us in the current world, albeit in a less drastic and life threatening way. Falkner weaves the terrifying true events of a terrible war into a story of thrilling adventure, deadly risks, and devastating tragedy.
- Ashika Hira is 15 years old and lives in Hastings.