Written by Craig Simpson
Review by Elizabeth Hawksley

Trondheim, 1940. Norway is under German occupation. They want its iron ore, and its deep fjords to hide their battleships and U-boats from the British Navy. Ordinary civilians are suffering restrictions, shortages and harassment. Sixteen-year-old Finn and his friend, Loki, are determined to join the Resistance movement, but who can be trusted? There are collaborators in their midst, and the consequences of betrayal can be death.

Then Uncle Heimar asks them to help him set the flares to guide the parachute drop of an English spy, an expert cartographer whose job is to map German war installations, including warships and radio stations. But things go wrong and soon Finn and Loki are in deep trouble.

As the Nazi grip tightens on Trondheim, it becomes increasingly difficult to get the vital map back to Britain…

‘High octane excitement’, says the blurb and that about sums it up. The pace is fast and furious and Simpson doesn’t pull his punches about the consequences of being found out. There are deaths as well as thrilling escapes.

With its illustrations and statistics of the war planes involved, together with a 1940s map of Trondheim, this book is presumably aimed at boys of 11 plus, though girls who like adventure should enjoy it as well. The unobtrusive historical research gives an excellent picture of life under Nazi occupation, from the secret printing presses to the headquarters of the SS at the Kristiansen fortress where summary executions of ‘traitors’ were carried out. Everything is in short supply from clothes to food and petrol and Simpson makes us feel the privations as well as the dangers.

Norway’s story of the war years is often forgotten, and this book is a timely reminder of Norwegian bravery and suffering.