Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Spy on History - Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti, illustrated by Tony Cliff

Welcome to my stop on the Spy on History Blog Tour. 

Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring is the first book in the new series Spy on History that combines an exciting story with interactive materials that invite the reader to solve a mystery.

Mary is a freed slave who has been asked to work in the home of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Mary had been freed as a very young girl by Bet Van Lew, a Quaker, who had taken a special interest in her, making sure Mary learned to read and write. Now, Bet was building a network of spies and when she heard there was a job available in the Davis house, she implored the recently married Mary to get the job and work as a spy masquerading as an illiterate young woman. Mary was ideal for the job, because not only could she read and write, but she had a photographic memory. All she had to do was study one of Davis' maps or important papers for a short time and she could reproduce it later for Bet.

But spying is a tricky business for Mary. She misses her husband and she is always being watched by the suspicious servant O'Melia. As Mary finds information that will help the Union win the Civil War, she has to be clever about delivering it to Bet. Luckily, the baker who brings the morning bread is also part of Bet's spy ring. Meanwhile, who has been going through Mary's room when she isn't there and will they find her incriminating diary? Will Mary's cover as an illiterate girl be blown by the nosy O'Melia? And as thing heat up, will Mary be able to safely escape if she has to?

Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring is a novel based on real events. All the main characters, Mary, Bet, O'Melia, and even the baker Thomas Niven, were real people involved in spying on the Confederate President Davis. Mary is such a strong character, but spying is always a dangerous business and no less so for her. Mary's courage is one of the features that makes this such an exciting novel.

Included in the book is an envelope containing four tools to help the reader find clues to solve the mystery of where Mary hid her diary at the end of the book, including a Caesar cipher wheel just like the kind that was actually used during the war.
Sharp readers will also find a sheet with Morse code and scattered clues throughout to decipher. There is even a Vigenère cipher, one of my favorites from childhood when my best friend and I would leave each other messages using it. It looks confusing, but isn't that the idea. It's based on a keyword(s) that lets the receiver decode the message. And, yes, readers will also learn how to use it.
As part of this blog tour, we were asked this question:
If you could go back to any time or place in history, where would you put your spy skills to use?
For me, that would be Nazi Germany in World War II. As much as I have read about that, I can't think of a more exciting or more dangerous time to be a spy, so it would really be a test of espionage skills to uncover useful information without being caught. 
When and where would you put your espionage skills to use?

There is also a nice giveaway as part of this blog tour. One lucky person will win a copy of Spy on History - Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring, as well as Who Wins? 100 Historical Figures Go Head-to-Head, an interactive book. The giveaway is open to US readers only, and ends at 11:50 PM on February 12, 2017. Just leave a comment with name and email to enter this giveaway.

Spy on History - Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring is an excellent and fun way to discover this courageous lady and the part she played in bringing about the end of the Civil War. She is actually one a many African Americans who were spies during the war. The Brave Black Women Who Were Civil War Spies by Theresa McDevitt is a short but excellent article about three African American spies, including Mary Bowser with links to more in-depth biographies of these brave women. 

Be sure to visit these other stops on the Spy on History Blog Tour:
February 1:    Middle Grade Mafia
February 2:    YAYOMG
February 3:    Mundie Kids
February 6:    Miss Print
February 7:    Recreational Scholar
February 8:    The Roarbots
February 9:    Randomly Reading
February 13:  Teen Library Toolbox
February 14:  Ex Libris Kate
February 15:  Geo Librarian
February 16:  Kidliterati 
February 17:  Kristi’s Book Nook 

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was provided to me by the publisher, Workman Publishing

February is Black History Month

No comments:

Post a Comment

Imagination Designs