A while ago I reviewed Camp X by Eric Walters. That page-turner was the first of a series of World War II books for young people that ranges from Ontario to Bermuda to England. Here I present mini-reviews of the rest of the books in the series.
Camp X: Camp 30
For their safety, George, Jack, and their mother were moved to a different town, Bowmanville, where their mother was offered a job at Camp 30, the German officer POW camp. Of course, it did not take the boys long to get involved in the camp as well, delivering mail, becoming friends with the POW commander, and discovering a whole lot more than they were meant to.
Truly, this is the nicest book of the series. Since it deals with the German officer POW’s of Camp 30—gentlemen, not spies—the book contains very little violence. It also emphasizes the fact that many German career soldiers, which is what many of the officers were, were not Nazis. Highly recommended.
Reading the adult fiction account of Camp 30, Word of Honor by Hodgson, I realized just how close to reality Eric Walter’s book is.
Camp X: Fool’s Gold
George and Jack were happy now that life was finally back to normal. No more danger, spying, or heroism. But one day, they came home from delivering papers to find three gunmen in their kitchen. The men needed the boys’ help, and took their mother, Mrs. Braun hostage in exchange for their cooperation. And that co-operation had something to do with Camp X, the top-secret spy camp nearby.
Now what? The boys had both signed the Official Secrets Act during their first adventure, but they could not let their mother get hurt. How could they keep their word, save their mother, and foil the thugs who were endangering the war effort?
Fool’s Gold by Eric Walters is another action-packed story, full of intrigue and danger, and based on fact. Recommended.
Camp X: Shell Shocked
The Braun family, Jack, George and mother, have moved yet again in another attempt to mislead Nazi agents based in Ontario. They are still close to Lake Ontario, and Mrs. Braun again works at the same munitions factory as part of the war effort. The boys are determined to go to school and live a normal life.
But, once again, Jack and George notice a few things…and are noticed. As trouble begins to brew, Jack is almost oblivious, because he has found a girlfriend, Daphne. But George, who can’t sleep because of his nightmares about previous adventures, discovers that his mother is sneaking out at night and lying about it.
When the munitions factory is threatened, the boys, both experienced secret agents by now, are given assignments. Life becomes more and more dangerous for the entire town, but only a few people know and even fewer are working for safety.
Unlike the first book, Camp X, this one is a bit unrealistic. Although Jack is still acting like a typical teen, young George is turning out to be a talented secret agent, a quick thinker and incredibly brave, who commands the deep respect of the head of Camp X. That being said, this is still an exciting story worth reading.
Note: Death and killing are very real in this story, and George becomes involved. Jack’s romance is not totally positive, either, and, as usual, the boys keep things from their mother. Recommended, but not for sensitive children.
Camp X: Trouble in Paradise by Eric Walters
After all furor at the munitions plant in Ontario, the Braun family has been relocated to Bermuda for their safety. There, the boys can concentrate on school, Mrs. Braun becomes a censor who checks overseas mail and, best of all Captain Braun rejoins the family as he begins his new assignment to help defend the Bermuda harbor.
School with the snobby upper-crust boys from Britain has its challenges, but Jack’s new friend Louise more than makes up for them. However, there’s a whole lot more than school going on. Before long the boys get into trouble again, noticing things they weren’t meant to. They end up working in the Princess Hotel, defense headquarters on the island. There they learn the surprising truth about their mother, and an even more surprising fact about Louise.
And they also learn that Nazi agents plan to attack. But when? And where?
Note: Little Bill, the head of all clandestine operations in Canada, the Caribbean, and Europe ‘sees all, knows all, and seems to be everywhere at once’ and is therefore very occasionally called ‘God’. This may or may not be historically accurate, but it bothers me. For this reason I am uncertain whether or not to recommend this book, although the story itself is great.
Camp X: Enigma by Eric Walters
From Bermuda, the Braun family set off for England to meet the grateful parents of Louise, Jack’s girlfriend, whom the boys saved in the previous novel. On the way, their convoy is attacked by U-boats and one of the U-boats is torpedoed. A mysterious object is taken from it before it sinks (two brave sailors gave up their lives for it) and once again the boys’ family becomes involved in secretive war matters.
The Brauns do eventually meet Louise’s family, an adventure in itself, but first they are whisked off to Bletchley Park where all sorts of mysterious war activities are happening. As usual, the boys keep their eyes open and get involved in dangerous missions. This one, however, they never expected to leave alive….
Enigma is an exciting story, full of historical detail. Recommended, but not for sensitive children.
This exciting series of World War II books, based on careful research, will thrill young people. With the caveats mentioned in each mini-review above and the warning below, I recommend the series for ages 10 and up (the book covers says ages 8-12), although I’m not letting my sensitive 11-year-old read it yet.
Note: These books are spy stories and, as such, they contain deception and deadly violence. That, unfortunately, was reality for many unknown heroes who worked for our freedom. Although Jack and George always stand up for each other when things get dangerous, they often interact in an unpleasant way in everyday life. This upsets their mother (and me), but the boys and their dad agree that this is not unusual. Only you as parent can decide what is suitable for your family and your individual children.
The Camp X Series by Eric Walters should be available in most Canadian libraries and probably in large US libraries as well, and can also be bought from online retailers in both Canada and the US.
Thanks to Cindy for mentioning this series to me.
These books form part of our multi-year, literature-based Canadian History course .
Disclosure: We borrowed this series from our library and I am not compensated for this review.