The International Writers Magazine: Young Fiction Reviews
By Amanda Mitchison
Walker Books Ltd.
Mission Telemark tells the tales of four teenagers trained as Special Operations Agents in the Second World War, risking everything to prevent the making of a nuclear bomb in their native home the now Nazi-occupied Norway.
Based on real events, Mitchison portrays their mission with daring realism, through the shocking diary entries of Jakob -an only child and born leader for the group and Ase, who is small enough to slip by Nazi security and has an entertaining sense of humour. Fred and Lars accompany them on their discreet mission. Fred –a specialist Morse coder, has a weak physic compared to his encyclopedic knowledge and photographic memory and more than makes up for Lars’ mysterious silence in conversation, which the group learn to accept as Lars’ survival expertise for the outdoors so frequently saves them.
Expect trials of endurance from the very beginning of the group’s journey in Scotland, where they are trained to their limits and beyond by Colonel Armstrong, a harsh task master with a crooked smile and the icy accommodation of Drumincraig House where they must await their orders.
The book is illustrated beautifully by Jakob’s personal sketches and even includes the letters detailing the instigation of the mission from The Prime Minister. As well as nine intricate, unfolding, information manuals on subjects ranging from how to prepare a rabbit for cooking, to how to withstand Gestapo interrogation methods, to what kit you’ll be given for a cold weather parachute drop to the identification of animal paw and hoof prints.
Children nine years and up will love this gem of a book and if you’ve ever enjoyed a spy thriller or adventure novel, no matter how old you are, you’re guaranteed to squirm and gasp at its icy turns too.
© Bella Osborne April 2010
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