L. Brittney






MacMillan Children’s Books, 2008
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

Young Adults/Thriller

Young teen Nathan Fox is a trainee undercover agent in Elizabethan London. He has returned from Venice where his first rollicking adventure occurred in NATHAN FOX: DANGEROUS TIMES. This story opens with him learning Dutch fighting commands. His next mission, along with his mentor John Pearce, is in the Netherlands. They have been assigned to capture a vast amount of gold which is en route to pay the Spanish army fighting in the Netherlands. The army has not been paid for six months and are very demoralised. It is hoped that if the gold doesn’t reach the army then the soldiers will put down their arms and desert.

Pearce and Fox have also been requested to prevent a sacred relic falling into the hands of the Spanish king. It is for the latter assignment that Nathan’s sister Marie accompanies them. She is the only one who can get into the Beguinage, a refuge for women, where information about the relic can be found.

The Netherlands is a dangerous place. The people have been plundered and brutalised by the Spanish army. Prowling pirates and marauding mercenary soldiers make life difficult. It is hard to know who to trust, and who will betray you. There is also a threat from the church; a minor infraction of the church law can result in death. Trouble is, the religion changes and it is hard to know what rules to follow, and when you have broken one.

NATHAN FOX: TRAITOR’S GOLD is the second book in a series. I loved the first book, NATHAN FOX: DANGEROUS TIMES, and was worried whether author L Brittney would be able to pull off a second hit. She has, and then some; this adventure is even better than the first. Reading the story was like getting on an express train – the story took off and didn’t let me go until I arrived breathless at the other end. The character of Nathan is spot on for a young teenager; Brittney has him reacting to life just as a teen should. Right down to sulking when things don’t go his way, or worse, thinking he knows better and running off to do his own thing. However, for all his faults, he is a courageous young man.

As with her first book, NATHAN FOX: TRAITOR’S GOLD, Brittney’s love of Shakespeare’s plays provides a back story. This time the play is “Measure for Measure” with the Duke and Isabella making an appearance. "Will" Shakespeare is a very minor character who is a friend of Nathan; when Nathan returns from his adventures he relates them to Will. It took me a while to figure out what play this tale would inspire Will to eventually write.

I think NATHAN FOX: TRAITOR’S GOLD would be better aimed at the teen market rather than the pre-teens market that the publisher is aiming it at. There are some rather gruesome illustrations of how people were treated on the war field without the use of modern medicine. I think the scenes added to the reality of the period of history the author has set her tale in. To take it away would be wrong. However, it is for this reason I think that some pre-teens may get upset. Other than that – don’t miss out on this wonderful adventure story, and you’ll be pleased to know the author is already at work on book three in the series.

March 2008

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