city_spies_ya_fc city_spies_ya_gg city_spies_ya_cs city_spies_ya_cotd city_spies_ya_manhattan
Full Name: City Spies
Nationality: British
Organization: MI6
Occupation Agency

Creator: James Ponti
Time Span: 2020 - 2024


     City Spies is an agency in the British Intelligence community.

     It is run by a man who is a full-time agent of MI-6 so technically it is part of that organization but it is unique enough that it really operates on its own. Certainly the name used most often by that man is in itself unique. Though he is a man of many names and passports, inside his small group he askes to be referred to as 'Mother'.

     Asking to be addressed as a female parental unit in any spy organization would be bizarre, even more so considering the fact that in this case 'Mother' is a male, but in the case of City Spies, it sort of makes sense. This really sub-agency of operatives consists of 5 kids, each known by a nickname based on where Mother recruited them.

     The concept behind the group is that there are an exceptional number of places where adolescents, such as young teens, could operate almost invisibly; they would be seen and forgotten as much as the furniture by adults. If these 'kids' were properly trained and outfitted and organized, the undercover work they could accomplish would be noteworthy.

     The five team members of the City Spies are:

- Paris: Real name Salomon Omborenga. The eldest of the group (15) and usual team leader, Paris was a refugee from Rwanda living alone in an abandoned warehouse in the French capitol. He was the first recruit by Mother, noticed by him when a mission Mother was on went south and Paris stepped in and saved his life.

- Sydney: Real name Olivia Rose. Next oldest (14) and the field ops specialist, she is from Australia and is very much a known rebel at heart (said to be 'allergic' to following rules) and prone to wanting to strike out for justice. She also loves to surf and be active outdoors. Her affinity towards explosives is well known.

- Kat (short for Katmandu): Real name Amita Bishwakarma. A youngster from Nepali, aged approximately 13, she is "an excellent lookout because she saw the world differently" in that she had an uncanny ability with math that let her "identify patterns where everyone else saw chaos". Her ability in cryptography is daunting.

- Rio: Real name Joao Cardoza. A 12-year old former street urchin from Brazil, his skills at magic and sleight-of-hand is very impressive and aids tremendously in such things as picking pockets and palming items.

- Brooklyn: Real name Sara Maria Martinez. The newest member of the team, this 12-year-old from New York is a computer whiz. She once used her less-than-new laptop to send a birthday greeting to her idol, a female astronaut who was aboard the Space Station at the time which required Brooklyn to hack NASA and the DoD.

     As can be seen above, the 'codenames' of the members are city names (hence the 'City Spies' name), indicating the metropolitan area Mother first encountered each one. Each was an orphan, usually in the 'system' but brought to work in the City Spies group and given a new home and a new family, each other.

Good Lines, spoken by Mother to his young operatives and sometime referred to as 'motherisms':

- "Only fools and liars speak with certainty about things beyond their control."

- "You can't look out if you stand out."


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:2020
Last Appearance:2024

1 City Spies City Spies
Written by James Ponti
Copyright: 2020

Sara Martinez, 12-year-old foster girl and computer wizard, was not expecting to be behind bars when she used her hacking skills to expose her foster parents for the cheats they were. She really didn't expect to then be offered a chance by a man who called himself Mother to escape a couple of years in juvie. The catch? She had to join City Spies, a new group of kids from around the world out to keep the world safer.
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2 Golden Gate Golden Gate
Written by James Ponti
Copyright: 2021

Having complete their first big assignment, the City Spies team is excited for their next mission. Sydney, the 14-year old from Australia, is especially keen because she gets to go undercover on a marine research vessel. When things do not go as expected, she finds herself in a spot no undercover operative wants - being very much noticed. Meanwhile there is a chance there is a mole in the City Spies team who can destroy the whole organization.
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3 Forbidden City Forbidden City
Written by James Ponti
Copyright: 2022

"After taking down a mole within their organization, the City Spies are ready for their next mission—once again using their unique skills and ability to infiltrate places adults can't. The sinister Umbra has their sights set on recruiting a North Korean nuclear physicist by any means necessary, and the City Spies plan to keep an eye on his son by sending Paris to the chess prodigy's tournaments in Moscow and Beijing."
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4 City Of The Dead City Of The Dead
Written by James Ponti
Copyright: 2023

"Codename Kathmandu, better known as Kat, loves logic and order, has a favorite eight-digit number, and can spot a pattern from a mile away. So when a series of cyberattacks hits key locations in London while the spies are testing security for the British Museum, it’s clear that Kat’s skill for finding reason in what seems like randomness makes her the perfect candidate to lead the job.
And while the team follows the deciphered messages to Egypt and the ancient City of the Dead to discover who is behind the attacks and why, Kat soon realizes that there’s another layer to the mystery."
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5 Mission Manhattan Mission Manhattan
Written by James Ponti
Copyright: 2024

"The City Spies head to the Big Apple when a credible threat is made to a young climate activist who is scheduled to speak in front of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly. With Rio acting as alpha and a new member in their ranks, the team’s mission to protect a fellow teen takes them on an exciting adventure in, around, and even under the greatest city in the world as they follow leads to the outer boroughs, the UN Headquarters, and even the usually off-limits stacks that extend deep under the main branch of the New York Public Library."
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     The older I get, the more of a sucker I get for well-written young adult adventures. By that I really mean how impressed I am at what it takes to create an environment where the stories are interesting, exciting, amusing, and thrilling, written so young adults can and would enjoy them but never talking down to them or getting preachy.

     Considering this author has won a prestigious Edgar for his work in the genre, it is no surprise they are as darn good as they are. I hope he writes more because I will certainly keep reading them.


My Grade: A-


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