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This was not at all what the letter had said would happen. Ellen had been told to go to Bletchley in Buckinghamshire, which was not as easy as it sounded since all location signs and station names had been removed at the start of the war. Thanks to the kindness of a woman on the crowded third-class carriage, Ellen had managed to make it to the platform at Bletchley train station, where she stood waiting for someone from her new job to collect her. After the small crowd dispersed, Ellen paused in the rather large and cavernous building, silent except for the flap of a wayward pigeon, and tried to steady her nerves.

When no one appeared to escort her, Ellen made her way outside, where the road was empty under the dimmed street lamps. Ellen could barely see the shape of her arm when she raised it to check her wristwatch. She had foolishly hoped there would be a shiny, warm car waiting with special headlamps, hiding her from any German bombers flying overhead. Instead, there was nothing but the rustle of wind through trees and the disconcerting shriek of an owl.

About the book

Codebreaker. Friend. Spy?


Pearl and Ellen work at top-secret codebreaking HQ, Bletchley Park.

Pearl is the youngest. A messenger at sixteen, she’s untidy, lively, bright, and half in love with the wrong boy, Richard. Her circle of friends overlaps with his – the dashing young men on their motorcycles who courier the secrets that Bletchley deciphers.

Ellen is a codebreaker. Reserved, analytical and beautiful. She never expected to get close to a girl like Pearl – or fall for a chap like Dennis.

But when tragedy strikes, their logical world is upended, with both friends caught in a spy plot that rocks the very heart of the war effort. Who can they turn to now? Who can they trust? And above all, can they unmask the traitor in their midst before it’s too late?

The Secrets Act is an atmospheric wartime read, perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.

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