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AWOL

AWOL_ya_lastsafe AWOL_ya_lastday AWOL_ya_agent AWOL_ya_lastboy
 
Full Name: Kieron Miller & Bex Wilson
Series Name: AWOL
Nationality: British
Organization: MI6
Occupation Agent

Creator: Andrew Lane
Time Span: 2018 - 2019

ABOUT THE SERIES

Rebecca 'Bex' Wilson is a freelance agent for MI6.

Kieron Mellor is a teenager who works with Bex Wilson.

While Mellor is the star of the series as most activity revolves around him, Wilson is the actual, official agent and Mellow would not be doing what he does without her; therefore, he gets named first in the fact sheet at the top and she gets first billing with Mellor right after in this writeup.

I want to mention here, now that I've got the introductions out of the way, that the name given this set of adventures, A.W.O.L., does not mean anything like the traditional absent-without-leave; it instead stands for Agent Without License. Now, since Wilson is working on behalf of and with the approval of MI6, the AWOL here definitely indicates Mellor. He is not licensed, or approved, or even known about by that British spy organization.

A tad more information then about the pair, starting with Wilson. She and a fellow, likely ten years older than her approximate 25 years of age, are a team of contract operatives who bid on and are given one-shot missions. The pair actually contract with a sub-group in MI6 known as SIS-TERR - the Secret Intelligence Service's Terrorist Technology-Enhanced Remote Reinforcement. If they pull a job off successfully without blowback, they are more likely to get another and the more they do, the higher up the food chain they would progress. As we meet them they have had several successes so they are in good standing but not so good that they do not worry about making sure more work comes in.

Mellor is, as mentioned, a teenager, self-described as "nearly six feet tall [with] black hair and my skinn looks like I've for a tan. I haven't - my dad's from Mauritius  - but that's the only thing about me that looks Mauritian. Everything else I get from my mum. I identify as a greeb but looking at me you'd say I'm an emo or a goth." [Note those last two I sort of knew about but the first, not so much.]

So now a brief explanation of why Wilson and Mellor are working together.

Wilson is out in the field in Mumbai, India. Bradley is back in England, Newcastle specifically, monitoring things via the Internet with the use of a really cool pair of high-tech glasses and an earpiece, talking with Wilson and seeing much of what she sees and passing vital intel as needed. When we meet them, Bradley is in a food court in a mall getting something to eat. Mellor and his best bud, Sam (also a greeb and proud of it) are in the same food court trying to figure out how to get into a concert they cannot afford.

Miller does not set out to get involved in the spy game, although he definitely chose to do something a tad foolhardy that would lead him to become immersed in it so he has to shoulder some of the blame. Mellor notices a man sitting near them stand up from his table and almost instantly get silently abducted by two strong, scary-looking dudes. As they whisked him away, Miller got the crazy idea of following, telling Sam, "I want to see what they do when they get to the car park. If they throw the man into a police car or an ambulance then we'll ignore it; if they put him in the back of some anonymous black executive car then we'll tell someone".

Along the way, he notices the subdued man had dropped a Bluetooth earpiece and dark glasses. Miller scooped them up on his way out thinking - and this is rather telling about Miller - "If the man was OK then he might want them back. If he had vanished, well, the stuff might fetch a few pounds at one of the shops Kieron knew in the old High Street, no questions asked". A tad mercenary mixed with charity. But then the two kidnappers toss the fellow into a van and drive off and Miller heads back to meet up with Sam and ponder what next.

That what next will involve putting the earpiece in his ear and putting the glasses on and after a moment he can see in a kind of a projection a scene from somewhere else (turns out it was Mumbai) and hears over the earpiece the voice of a woman chiding someone named Bradley to "stop feeding your face. I need your help". That is how Miller would be introduced, sort of, to Bex Wilson and vice versa.

After that, things get a lot of fun.

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS

Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2018
Last Appearance:2019

1 Agent Without Licence Agent Without Licence
Written by Andrew Lane
Copyright: 2018

"Kieron and his friend Sam are shocked to see a man kidnapped in a Newcastle shopping centre right in front of their eyes. The boys quickly realise that the kidnapped man left something behind in the scuffle - an earpiece and glasses. Kieron puts them on and realises he can see not what is front of him, but a busy, tourist city, somewhere very hot - in Mumbai...
Kieron has accidentally stumbled upon the undercover world of Rebecca 'Bex' Wilson - a freelance agent working for the British Secret Intelligence Service. And without her handler Bradley (the man who was kidnapped), Bex is in trouble. She doesn't know who of her usual contacts she can trust, and like it or not, she is going to have to use teenage Kieron to get her out of danger. Before Kieron and Sam know it, they are part of.."

2 Last, Safe Moment Last, Safe Moment
Written by Andrew Lane
Copyright: 2018

"Several deaths have occurred amongst members of staff in the Goldfinch Institute, a research facility in Albuquerque, USA, which manufactures highly classified weapon systems for the British Army, the Secret Intelligence Service and SIS-TERR. Bex's job is to go to Albuquerque and covertly investigate to see if there is any threat to British interests, but there's a problem - the Head of Security of the Goldfinch Institute is someone she was at university with. Bex is forced to call on Kieron's help again as he goes out undercover in her place with a faked identity as a teenage computer genius.
As Bex investigates the deaths of the Goldfinch employees, there seems to be something more sinister lurking behind them. Something that not only threatens Kieron, who's been kidnapped by the Goldfinch Institute and taken to its HQ in Tel Aviv, but the whole of Eastern Europe...."

3 Last Boy Standing Last Boy Standing
Written by Andrew Lane
Copyright: 2019

"Special Agent Bex arranges to meet teenage Kieron in a cafe to tell him that she can't risk his life any more. She parks her car and seconds later it blows up, scattering flaming wreckage everywhere. She needs to get Kieron out of danger's way - but just as they get to the flat, it too explodes. Bex is forced to face the possibility that someone wants to kill her team, but whoever it is doesn't know about Kieron. That may be their only saving grace. But how were the explosions managed? And who wants them dead?"

4 Last Day On Earth Last Day On Earth
Written by Andrew Lane
Copyright: 2019

"The VR link Kieron and Bex rely on goes down, which means that all over England, all over the world, undercover agents are now working without support. Bex flies out to an island off Tokyo to the secret satellite control center, but discovers that it is guarded by robotic sentries. With Kieron's help she breaks in, but the alarm sounds. Back home in Newcastle, Kieron discovers that a coalition of nationalist groups around the world have access to a poisonous chemical that can be activated by a simple radio signal. Hundreds of thousands of people could die—instantly. Can they save the world—and will they both make it out alive?"

MY COMMENTS

This series is written for young adults. I am definitely not in the target audience but I became a fan right away. I could just see me and my childhood pal, John, in that food court scheming like Keiron and Sam. I can pretend I might also have been a foolish as Keiron and followed them (I wouldn't have but we are talking pretend here). 

The writing is terrific and the story just keeps flowing so well even as Keiron shows a bit more skill than really should be likely and Sam comes through quite often and Bex Wilson is way too ready to make use of Keiron (though does she actually have a choice). Oh, who knows or cares! This is a fun series and even though I was a bunch of decades older than the average reader, I finished the first adventure and immediately went onto the next. It was that much of a hoot.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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