Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Arthur is a journalist from England who sends news updates about the war in Russia and along the way and falls in love with a beautiful Russian girl. There is just one problem: they can't be together. She can't leave Russia and Aurther can't get to where she is. Many people think he's a spy and no longer trust him. Although he's not a spy at first, he definitely acts like one as he is asked many times to transport documents and payment. Eventually, he becomes an actual spy to save his love interest and get out of the war torn country. In the end, Arthur finally leaves the war behind and lives happily with his new wife.
There is no doubt that Sedgwick did his research for this story. All the characters were real people, including the events. He includes historical facts and little details at the end of the book, that really enforce the story he tells. The set-up of the book is also interesting. It first starts with a fairy tale story that Arthur had written about the events leading up to the Russian Revolution. Sedgwick then switches gears and tells about story about Arthur's past while the third part of the novel is told in Arthur's point of view in the present. The transitions from different stories or times seemed a bit choppy and hard to follow. There was also a lack of fluid thought by having the story jump around several times and half-formed ideas would end up being abandoned. The story makes history a little more fun to learn and read about, but it would have been better without the different formats of story telling.
*Contains mild language, moderate sexual content, and moderate violence.