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Full Name: Stella Bled Lawrence
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: A. W. Hartoin
Time Span: 2018 - 2021


Stella Bled is an agent with British Intelligence.

Will be, that is. When we meet her for the first time, it is 1938 in Europe and she is a visiting American out for pleasure and entertainment and not at all concerned about the growing tensions in the area she is exploring.

As the series moves along she will have occasion to join that clandestine organization but for the first couple of adventures she is literally and figuratively an amateur. In fact when we initially greet her she is so much a naif that if you mentioned being an operative to her, she likely would have asked what she was supposed to operate.

Not that she lacks intelligence for she has plenty of that. It is that she has other things to occupy her mind, largely that this young woman of just 18 years has recently married a tall blond handsome man named Nicky Lawrence and they have traveled from their native America, Missouri to be specific, to visit Europe for their honeymoon.

Being so young and obviously in love is coupled with the fact that Bled's family were quite well off and Bled has had the privilege of never really wanting for anything. Nor has she been put in a situation where her life depended on either doing or not doing something. That is about to change.

It will be important as the adventures of Bled proceed to remember to not confuse ignorance with stupidity. Bled's personal world has never had to deal with the kind of problems she will suddenly face and so her reactions will, initially at least, come across as ill-conceived. As she learns the harsh reality around her, she will change.

And that change will involve her getting herself involved in the war that is so definitely about happen. At first it is rather accidental but it will lead to her becoming an operative for British Intelligence and a quite good one. Not bad for a young naive girl from Missouri.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:2018
Last Appearance:2021

1 The Paris Package The Paris Package
Written by A. W. Hartoin
Copyright: 2018

The year is 1938. Stella Bled, now Lawrence, was in Vienna on her honeymoon with her groom, Nicky, blissfully unaware of growing tension around her in Europe. She and he were wealthy Americans and untouchable, or so they thought. Then came Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, and even then they felt they were not affected. When Stella is asked to deliver a package to someone in Paris, she agreed. That decision will change her life forever.
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2 Strangers In Venice Strangers In Venice
Written by A. W. Hartoin
Copyright: 2019

It is November, 1938. Stella Bled Lawrence had kept her promise to take a package to an address in Paris but now she and her husband Nicky realize that their work is not done. Abel Hershmann's cousins are determined to learn the fate of their uncle in Vienna and that means heading there despite the danger. When Bled tries to help them she will have to deal with a canal city plagued with floods, personal injuries that only get worse, and the people she wants to protect have vanished. Meanwhile, the SS officer so wanting the package she had delivered has not given up.
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3 One Child In Berlin One Child In Berlin
Written by A. W. Hartoin
Copyright: 2020

It is November, 1939. Nicky Lawrence has joined the Royal Air Force. Stella Bled has spent the past year training to be a spy with British Intelligence. While she has the language skills she needs and has acquired a good amount of ability with tradecraft, she is still learning when her boss pulls her out of training early. He wants to use her as a courier but though the mission sounds easy enough, it will prove to be far from that.
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4 Dark Victory Dark Victory
Written by A. W. Hartoin
Copyright: 2021

It is 1940 and Amsterdam.
Stella Bled wants very much to get back to England but the Admiralty has yet something else they want her to do. They need her to get close to two Dutch men to find which side they are on as the Nazis prepare to invade that country
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5 A Quiet Little Place On Rue De Lille A Quiet Little Place On Rue De Lille
Written by A. W. Hartoin
Copyright: 2021

It is 1940 and Paris.
As the Germans move closer to the city, Stella Bled is finding it impossible to get out. Unfortunate as well is the fact that her playing the double agent is going so well that both sides have new missions for her. In a time when high ranking German officers are helping themselves to France's art treasure, her impressive knowledge is on call, giving the British a terrific source of intel, if she can stay alive long enough.
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6 Her London Season Her London Season
Written by A. W. Hartoin
Copyright: 2021

It is 1940 and London.
"The Battle of Britain rages while Stella Bled sits frustrated on the sidelines. Her husband, Nicky, is unreachable as he risks his life flying in a Spitfire and she has to recover from her mission in France without her beloved Bijou or a single familiar face. Stella isn’t exactly content to rest, but she has no choice until a mysterious set of orders arrives at Castle Caladh. Something isn’t right, but Stella’s eager to return to service and ends up at a meeting in the famous St. Ermin’s Hotel. That meeting will land in the history books, but Stella, clearly, wasn’t supposed to get through it unscathed. Someone wants her out of the SIS and they have the power to pull some very long strings."
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Watching the transition of Stella Bled from innocent, naive, just barely an adult American tourist in pre-War Europe to a seasoned operative for British Intelligence playing double agent against the Germans is fascinating.

To me the first two books read like a two-part adventure, each complete in itself but the first leading directly into the second.

The third, fourth, and fifth (as of this writing) are more stand-alone.

These are wonderfully written historical spy adventures about one who had never faced any hardship to speak of coming into contact with what she finds to be true evil.


My Grade: A-


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