This is the second book in the Taylor and Rose Secret Agents series and continues pretty much from where Book 1, Peril in Paris ended. Even if you hadn’t already enjoyed the Sinclair’s Mysteries by the same author, I imagine that the glorious cover art by Karl James Mountford would encourage you to select this book (there are lovely black and white illustrations throughout the book too)!
The action throughout the majority of the story is split between Sophie who is posing as Alice Grayson, living undercover in St Petersburg and continuing to track Count Rudolf Von Wilderstein and his mysterious notebook, and Lil who is determined to track down her best friend after overhearing that she has gone incommunicado.
There is so much to love in this thrilling and pacy MG spy novel. As always the two heroines, Sophie and Lil, have to use all their ingenuity and bravery to outwit any foe who stands in their way. Sophie takes on employment at a bespoke jewellery maker situated on the grandest street in St Petersburg to pursue her target and encounters a fanatical, revolver-wielding, student revolutionary leader who has uncovered some of her secrets. Lil needs to overcome the objections of her dutiful fellow agent in order to divert from their planned mission in Germany and search for Sophie in Russia. The story gallops along with fascinating evocations of the grandeur of pre-revolutionary St Petersburg with its opulent streets and birthday-cake palaces, the Circus of Marvels, the intrigues taking place in London at the Secret Service Bureau and lurking in the shadows, the sinister Fraternitas Draconum and their ongoing machinations to cause chaos in Europe.
This story crackles with interesting historical insights into the bubbling unrest in Europe of 1911 as well as the changing role of females at that time. The two main protagonists prove that they are far from the helpless young ladies that some other members of the spy service mistakenly believe them to be and the Circus of Marvels provides impressive female characters. Katherine Woodfine has once again penned an entertaining novel, with charm and adventure in abundance; a thoroughly enjoyable story for anyone of 9+.
My thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an electronic version of this book to review, I shall certainly want to buy a paperback copy for the school library as soon as possible.