Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Special Operations: Wolf Squadron

Special Operations: Wolf Squadron

Craig Simpson
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Random House UK, 2010   ISBN: 978-0552560450

It is 1941, and the allies are in dire straits. Though the British won the Battle of Britain, they are barely holding off the enemy, and as a result they are willing to go to extreme measures to make life very difficult for the Nazis. One of these measures is Special Operations, a secret organization made up of teenage agents and their trainers. Trained for clandestine operations, the young agents go behind enemy lines in Europe to create agent networks and to assist local Resistance groups.

Finn Gunnersen and his friends Loki and Freya have successfully completed their first mission, and they are taking things easy at their headquarters in England when a very young Dutch boy called Jan is brought in bearing terrible news about the situation in the Netherlands. According to Jan, the members of an important Resistance ‘circuit,” many of whom are young Dutch Special Operations recruits, have been arrested by the Nazis. Worse still, the British airman that these agents were helping might also be in enemy hands.

The first order of business is to make sure that the circuit really has been compromised. The men in charge put together a kind of test to find out if this is the case. They soon determine that the Germans do have the circuit’s leader in their custody, and that they also have the code books that the circuit’s operatives have been using.

It is decided that Finn and his friends need to go into Holland to try to get the British airman out. Loki’s aunt married a Dutchman and lives near the town where the circuit was located. Since the young Norwegians don’t know how to speak Dutch properly, it is decided that they will play themselves and pretend that they are visiting Loki’s aunt. Another Special Operations agent, Marieke Maartens, will be their Dutch contact, and hopefully between the four of them they will be able to get the airmen out of Holland safely.

Though the plan is relatively simple, comparatively speaking, Finn, Loki, and Freya soon find out that the situation in Holland is very complicated. Loki’s aunt is not happy to see him, and the Germans are actively looking for Resistance people and the airmen. As a result, nothing ends up going according to plan. The teenage agents end up having to take terrible risks, knowing full well that if they are caught they face torture and death.

The author of this book weaves together a thrilling story, colorful characters, and historical facts to give readers an exceptional adventure. Inspired by the stories of real people and real events, the author gives his audience a memorable reading experience.

Many Dutch people showed great courage during the Nazi occupation of their country. They risked everything to fight back against their enemies, and to help downed airmen to get to safety so that they could fly again. This book is a tribute to all those who fought in the Resistance, especially those who made the supreme sacrifice. It is also a tribute to the agents from many countries who went into occupied Europe and who worked to undermine the Nazi’s goals.

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