Devil, Darling, Spy

Devil, Darling, Spy

Devil, Darling, Spy
Matt Killeen

Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781474942393

The deadliest weapon is a girl with nothing to lose... Sarah is used to spying in the champagne-fuelled parties of Nazi Berlin. But her new mission is infinitely more deadly - tracking a lethal disease across bullet-torn Africa, to uncover the monster who would use it to create fifty million corpses. Her enemies think she is a terrified little girl. But she is a warrior set to burn them all.

Librarian's Book choice


Devil, Darling, Spy4/5

Devil, Darling, Spy

Matt Killeen


Having already read Orphan Monster Spy, I was excited to receive a copy of Devil Darling Spy to review. I would strongly recommend reading them in series order because it really does help to set the scene. (However, I have read a review written by someone with no prior series knowledge and they felt that Devil Darling Spy could be read as a stand-alone.)

I found this book a more challenging read than the first. There were far more twists and turns; some more plausible than others! In Devil Darling Spy, we see Sarah travelling from Nazi Berlin and their champagne-fuelled parties to central Africa. Here she must track a deadly virus and unmask the mysterious White Devil before the disease can be turned into a weapon.

It felt slightly surreal to be reading this at a time of lockdown due to the Corona Virus that we are currently experiencing. Matt writes in his author notes that he was inspired to write Devil Darling Spy at the peak of the Ebola outbreak; following his research into two horrific moments in history: the Nama and Herero genocides, and the war crimes of Japan's unit 731.

His research has led to some of the more chilling moments in this latest book. His image of the White Devil was born from the description of doctors promising help but instead experimenting, vivisecting, infecting and spreading the plague.

I loved the main character, Sarah aka Ursula or Elodie. She wrestled with her conscience and had questionable judgment which made her feel more rounded as a person. Devil Darling Spy saw the introduction of Clementine who I thought would make an ideal partner in spying for Sarah. The Captain keeps Sarah under his wing for some of this tale, but he struggles with a morphine addiction following his injury in Orphan Monster Spy, so Sarah must stand on her own two feet. Which she is more than capable of doing of course!

If you love spy thrillers and have an interest in World War Two, this book will give you an insight into a less widely known about aspect of the war. I feel that it is suited to a more confident, YA reader as it is quite dark in places and could be quite difficult to follow. But, however bad the situation seems, Sarah never loses hope.

The book includes themes of racism in a historical context, withdrawal from drug addiction, bereavement and swearing in foreign languages - it taught me a few new phrases!

448 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Clair Bossons, school librarian

Reviewed by: Clair Bossons

Devil, Darling, Spy5/5

Devil, Darling, Spy

Matt Killeen


Having thoroughly enjoyed Orphan Monster Spy, I was determined to get my hands on the sequel Devil Darling Spy. Imagine the excitement when it arrived just before lockdown occurred!

The start of the novel picked up where the previous one ended, however, it could be read as a standalone. Sarah is still living the high life in Berlin with the Captain as they infiltrate the Nazi high society. Word reaches them of a new lethal weapon with the capability of delivering a virus, leading Sarah and the Captain to travel to Africa in search of the source.

Cue the rumours of the White Devil allegedly infecting and burning down villages. Sarah and the Captain meet scientist Lisbeth and her stepfather, who are undertaking research into the virus. They visit an infected village and at this point the plot started to resemble the current pandemic with eerie echoes.

As ever, Killeen has crafted the fine detail of the era and it is a joy to read. He always researches the detail to immerse his reader in the moment. There are so many twists and turns in the plot you really need to keep focus.

I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction but also any thriller fans since things are not always what you think initially. It does include some mature themes including historical racism and drug addiction which are dealt with sensitively.

A thoroughly gripping read which has left me waiting for the next book.

425 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Sharon Bolton, school librarian

Reviewed by: Sharon Bolton