Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Wein (The Empty Kingdom) serves up a riveting and often brutal tale of WWII action and espionage with a powerful friendship at its core. Captured Scottish spy Queenie has agreed to tell her tale and reveal any confidential information she knows in exchange for relief from being tortured by Nazis. Her story, which alternates between her early friendship with a pilot named Maddie and her recent sufferings in prison, works both as a story of cross-class friendship (from an upper-crust family, Queenie realizes that she would likely never have met Maddie under other circumstances) and as a harrowing spy story (Queenie's captor, von Loewe, is humanized without losing his menace). Queenie's deliberately rambling and unreliable narration keeps the story engaging, and there are enough action sequences and well-delivered twists (including a gut-wrenching climax and late revelations that will have readers returning to reread the first half of the book) to please readers of all stripes. Wein balances the horrors of war against genuine heroics, delivering a well-researched and expertly crafted adventure. Ages 14 up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"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....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." The Washington Post
"Young people will enjoy this Second World War spy story, no doubt, but its appeal is much wider. It's a beautiful thriller about friendship, courage and daring at a desperate time." The StarPhoenix
"Moving back in time, rather than forward, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is an original, cleverly written Second World War story about spies, torture, women pilots, friendship and the horror of war." The Independent
"A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[Code Name Verity] is outstanding in all its features — its warm, ebullient characterization; its engagement with historical facts; its ingenious plot and dramatic suspense; and its intelligent, vivid writing."
The Horn Book (starred review)
"A fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel." The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there. Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia. The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008). The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008. Elizabeth also writes short stories.