Designed to meet the requirements for students at IGCSE and A level, this accessible educational edition offers the complete text of Spies with a comprehensive study guide. Highlights of Andrew Bruff's guide include:
- detailed analyses of character, setting and theme;
- close examination of the novel's plot, structure and narrative techniques;
- key quotations and activities both for the student working alone and in the classroom.
In the quiet cul-de-sac where Keith and Stephen live the only immediate signs of the Second World War are the blackout at night and a single random bomb site. But the two boys start to suspect all is not as it seems when one day Keith announces a disconcerting discovery: the Germans have infiltrated his own family. And when the secret underground world they have dreamed up emerges from the shadows they find themselves engulfed in mysteries far deeper and more painful than they had bargained for.
A tinted review in adult Forecasts indicates a book that's of exceptional importance to our readers but hasn't received a starred or boxed review.SPIESMichael Frayn. Metropolitan, $23 (261p) By the author of the bestselling Booker Prize finalist Headlong, this dark, nostalgic and bittersweet parable evokes the childhood escapades of an isolated and hapless young boy caught up in the uncertainties of wartime London in the early 1940s, just after the horrors of the Luftwaffe blitz. Stephen Wheatley, now a grandfather living abroad, is drawn back to London to revisit his boyhood home, to deal with the complexities and eventual tragedy engendered by what seemed a harmless game of spy when he was just a schoolboy during WWII. His best friend at the time was Keith Hayward, the bright son of rather standoffish parents; Keith and Stephen embark on a childish adventure after Keith announces that his British mother is a German spy. The murky plot follows their frustrations as they try to shadow Keith's mum as she goes through the mundane ritual of stopping by her sister's house with letters and a shopping basket, only to disappear into the neighboring streets. Discovering at last that she takes a route through the culvert beneath the railroad and leaves letters in a box hidden on the other side, they eventually learn that she sometimes meets a tattered, bearded tramp hiding in a bombed-out cellar. When Keith's mum finally realizes they have found her out, she secretly seeks Stephen's loyalty, making him complicit. Thrust into a role far beyond his years, but helpless to refuse, he is overwhelmed. As it plays out to a surprising denouement, this enigmatic melodrama will keep readers' attention firmly in hand.