Enigma Game (The Enigma Game)

the enigma game

The hair stood up at the back of my neck. Those letters meant something. And with the cipher machine, I'd worked it out myself.

1940. Facing a seemingly endless war, fifteen-year-old Louisa Adair wants to fight back, make a difference, do something-anything to escape the Blitz and the ghosts of her parents, who were killed by enemy action. But when she accepts a position caring for an elderly German woman in the small village of Windyedge, Scotland, it hardly seems like a meaningful contribution. Still, the war feels closer than ever in Windyedge, where Ellen McEwen, a volunteer driver with the Royal Air Force, and Jamie Beaufort-Stuart, a flight leader for the 648 Squadron, are facing a barrage of unbreakable code and enemy attacks they can't anticipate.

Their paths converge when a German pilot lands in Windyedge under mysterious circumstances and plants a key that leads Louisa to an unparalleled discovery: an Enigma machine that translates German code. Louisa, Ellen, and Jamie must work together to unravel a puzzle that could turn the tide of the war? but doing so will put them directly in the cross-hairs of the enemy.

Featuring beloved characters from Code Name Verity and The Pearl Thief, as well as a remarkable new voice, this brilliant, breathlessly plotted novel by award-winning author Elizabeth Wein is a must-read.---from the publisher

448 pages 978-1368012584 Ages 12 and up

Keywords: historical fiction, World War II, pilots, codes, courage, diversity, diverse books, risk, espionage, danger, 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old, 15 year old


What can a fifteen-year old West Indian girl do in the middle of World War II?  What difference can a "Traveller" girl make in the middle of World War II?  How can a young Scot named Jamie Stuart change the fortunes of his squad of Blenheim pilots?

The Enigma Game pulls together a band of courageous, honorable pilots, drivers, aides and German traitors as they look to find a way to stay a step ahead of the enemy.

It's 1940 in Scotland  near the North Sea  when a German plane lands at the local aerodrome and the pilot turns out to be carrying an Enigma machine.  He's secretly bringing it to the RAF so they can decode the German messages and know what they'll do before they do it.

He doesn't hand it over to anyone because the person he expects to meet never shows up.  This is an intelligence mission of the most classified level.   Instead it is discovered by a young woman named Louisa Adair.

Louisa Adair, age 15, lost her father to a sinking ship and her mother to a bus that drove into a crater formed by a bomb on the streets of London.  She's on her own now so when she sees the opportunity to get a job taking care of an older woman, she gives it a go.  The woman, Jane Walker, hires Louisa to take her to Scotland.  That's where they find themselves in the middle of this amazing turn of events..

In The Enigma Game the war is only getting started. It's 1940 and the Germans are blowing up ships with their submarines and dominating the skies with their Messerschmitts.  Jane's niece, Nancy Campbell, runs an inn on the coast of Scotland and that's where the Louisa will take her.  Louisa with her darker Jamaican skin does not blend in with the locals but with the tragedy of the lives of her parents hanging onto her, she is determined to get into the action and make a difference.

Jamie Stuart leads a squad of Blenheim pilots on their missions over the North Sea.

You're about to find yourself in a cold pub on the coast of Scotland with an old gramophone playing record after record, RAF pilots coming in to escape the war for a few hours and an Enigma machine.

Who can figure out how to use the machine?  Who can translate the messages the Germans are transmitting? Who will be left standing?

Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com


Sometimes you want one of those great stories that you can disappear into.   You want it layered and you want characters you can respect.  You even are willing to take some flaws and hardships. This is one of those great stories.

The chance to make a difference. The chance to be seen for who you really are and not just through the lenses of bias and prejudice that have haunted these women for years.

World War II is about to be the setting for a group of young people, called to their duties, and carrying a bit of hope that they will be able to make a difference in the war just by being true to themselves.

A 15 year-old girl, Louisa Adair, biracial,  raised in Jamaica, has lost both parents and is about to find herself responsible for Jane, an elderly German woman, who is disguising her identity. More than anything Louisa wants a chance to get revenge on the Germans who have been responsible for the deaths of both of her parents.

Ellen, a young woman, born and raised as a Traveller in Scotland, is wearing the uniform of her country and serving as a driver at an aerodrome. Her identity is hidden from the world for the first time in her life and now she is known as a competent young woman by those working with her ...not just as a Traveller.

Jamie Stuart, the young leader of the Blenheim pilots at the local aerodrome on the coast of Scotland, is struggling with his superior officer who doesn’t like Jamie and won’t give him credit or praise despite his courage and ingenuity. Jamie fights for his pilots to get worthy missions and for them to be honored for what they risk every time they go up.

The story centers on the missions flown by Jamie and his pilots searching for German submarines and ships they might be able to destroy. Their planes are cumbersome, not meant for dogfights, so they struggle to see themselves as successful in their missions much less aces like their Spitfire cousins.

When the orders come from their superiors, the crews go up, face the enemy as best they can, and the survivors make their way back home to the airfield. Time and again they leave so many comrades behind until something incredible happens and a German pilot lands his plane at the aerodrome and spends a night at the local inn where Louisa stays with Jane and where all of the pilots come together when they have time off.

When the German pilot flies off the next day, Louisa discovers he has left them danger and hope wrapped up in one piece of amazing equipment.

Working together, this motley crew of determined, dedicated, courageous men and women are able to understand what they have been given and then decide to keep it a secret and take a chance that it might give the Blenheim pilots an edge that will turn the Germans along the coast into the hunted for a change.

Each one of these characters has some truly fine qualities and some rough edges. Put those together and they become incredibly dear to you as you follow them on their journey. They are facing such dark hours and day after day they find small ways to create pockets of hope.

In the pub where Louisa and Jane stay, the fire is only lit at 3:00pm and the hot water has a line in the bathtub that you don’t go beyond. The rooms are cold. The coffee isn’t recognizable. But the raw courage, the light that has been lit within these human beings, those are treasure …treasure that has no price and cannot be rationed out.

This is a mighty story of the bleakness of war and the pain and grief that come with it as a daily dose. But it’s also a triumphant story of never ever giving up and of being willing to risk what might seem impossible even in the face of bias and prejudice and death. Each of these characters shows their mettle and it has nothing to do with their race, skin color, or country of origin.

A glorious tale of war and the wonder of human beings.

Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

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