Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Spyology: The complete book of spycraft

Spyology: The complete book of spycraft

Dugald A. Steer
Illustrator:  Ian Andrew , Helen Ward , Anne Yvonne Gilbert , Jonnie Lambert 
Novelty Book  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Candlewick, 2008   ISBN: 978-0763640484

Spencer Blake (whose other alias was Agent K) was an agent in the Special Intelligence Service, and during his last mission he put together a manual “outlining the science of spying.” His mission was to take over the work of Agent J who went missing during an important operation that was code-named Operation CODEX. Agent J had just “cracked the CODEX code” when he went missing.

To help would-be spies and spies in training to hone their skills and to better understand spycraft, Spencer Blake decided to base his manual on what took place during this last mission. He provides readers with his log and clues, which he hopes they will be able to use to unravel the mysteries of the mission. He also gives readers the Cyprtotron which they can use to decrypt the encoded CODEX messages that can be found throughout the manual.

In addition to his log, Spencer Blake provides readers with a wealth of information about spycraft. He begins with some basic information about spycraft, and then he goes on to describe spy training, secret service organizations, going under cover, surveillance, information gathering, codes and ciphers, spy gadgets, spy networks, counterespionage, how to escape if you are captured by the enemy, forging documents, and the history of spying. The manual is packed with fascinating information, illustrations, and photographs. There are also envelopes to open, booklets to read, and many other interactive objects that young spies will find interesting and very useful. Readers are encouraged to search the book thoroughly as you never know where Spencer Blake might have hidden additional information!