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Full Name: Beth Johnson
Series Name: Secrets & Spies
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jo Macauley
Time Span: 2014 - 2014


Beth Johnson is an agent with British Intelligence.

Considering the year her activities commence, 1664, there really is no organized agency in place, just the small group of operative working under the direction of HM government's current spymaster, Sir Alan Strange. That mysterious, and apparently powerful man, takes the protection of the country, and its sitting monarch, Charles II, very seriously. "Tall, dark and mysterious, spymaster Alan Strange seeks out candidates from all walks of life, spotting the potential for high-quality agents in the most unlikely of places. Ruthless but fair, Strange is an inspiration for his recruits, and trains them well."

Johnson is a young woman of considerable beauty and growing more so as she ages. She is 15 years of age which sounds quite young to be employed as an operative but considering the period of time in which she lives and life expectancy then being not much more than 40, starting so young does not seem quite so peculiar.

Johnson is also a rising figure on the British stage, working at the King's Theatre. The prohibition against females acting professionally in the theater was only repealed a couple years before we meet Johnson, shortly after the Restoration of the Crown. Many of the older actors greatly resented the female presence as they had earned a good living playing the female parts but the audience were more than eager to accept real women in female roles and Johnson was already well received in a couple of productions. She is said to be "tall and beautiful with chestnut brown hair and green eyes" who had "risen from lowly depths as a foundling abandoned on the steps of Bow Church to become a celebrated thespian", not to mention a pretty good espionage agent.

Johnson got her secondary occupation as operative when Strange went backstage after a performance to ask if she would also be interested in serving the government. She "knew that the reason she'd been asked to become a spy was because she worked in the King's own theatre. Her experience as an actress meant that she was an expert in disguise and role-playing, and she was proud to serve her King, both as an actress and a secret agent. But she was growing a little tired of being given jobs that revolved solely around the theatre. Hopefully, if she got this job right, she would be asked to do something a little more adventurous next time..."

Johnson will learn quickly to be more careful what she asks for with the greater adventures invariably came great dangers.

Helping her out on these new missions are two young men also made into field operatives for Strange: John Turner and Ralph Chandler. The latter is a "former street urchin [who] has led a rough-and-tumble existence, but his nefarious beginnings have their uses when employed in his role as one of Sir Alan Strange's spies, working in the service of the King." The former is a "junior clerk at the Navy Board" who "imagines himself in more daring, adventurous circumstances - and he soon has the opportunity when he meets Beth Johnson and becomes part of her gang of spies".


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2014
Last Appearance:2014

1 Treason Treason
Written by Jo Macauley
Copyright: 2014

"Fourteen-year-old Beth Johnson is a talented and beautiful young actress. She is also a spy. The year is 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but all is not well in the bustling city of London, and there are those who would gladly kill the king and destroy the Monarchy. One morning, a mysterious ghost ship drifts up the Thames. Sent to investigate by the King's Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, Beth quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous adventure. Will Beth be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it's too late?"
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2 Plague Plague
Written by Jo Macauley
Copyright: 2014

"It's the summer of 1665, and the horrific Plague is overwhelming London. With so many dead and dying, the King's Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, must entrust Beth with her most important mission yet. With pestilence all around her, will Beth survive long enough to discover who is behind the latest conspiracy to kill the King?"
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3 Inferno Inferno
Written by Jo Macauley
Copyright: 2014

"Basking in the long, hot summer of 1666, Beth is looking forward to her first leading role. But when she receives an anonymous letter, the world is turned upside down for Beth and her friend John. Henry Vale, the dangerous mastermind behind the plots to kill the King, has kidnapped John's sister and is blackmailing John into helping him lure the King into a deadly trap."
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4 New World New World
Written by Jo Macauley
Copyright: 2014

"The year is 1666, and Henry Vale, the dangerous mastermind behind the plots to kill the King, is still on the loose, and Beth, along with John and Ralph, is in the thick of the action. With reports coming in that Vale may be hiding out in the colony of America, Beth must decide how far she will go to track him down."
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This very enjoyable and easy to read spy series crafted for the young adult, albeit not too young, is also a pretty good historical thriller series as it takes place three and a half centuries ago.

I really enjoyed the gutsiness of the main character, Beth Johnson, as well as that of her few close friends who help her out a bunch. She is the sort of character I would gladly follow, either in print or on the small screen, even though the intended demographic is a wee bit younger than I (okay more than a little).

Since nearly a decade has gone by from when these four adventures were released, we likely will not get any more but at least we have these four to really enjoy.


My Grade: B+


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