A Code Name Verity Fansite

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An Introduction to an Addiction

How can I describe why I love this so much?

Is it the unabashed, but subtle (is that possible?) declaration of unconditional, unrelenting, unstoppable, unlikely, sisterly love between the two very different main characters?

Maybe it's the subtlety itself? You start out wondering why you're reading a book about a traitorous coward (and you think you're going to hate her), but a few paragraphs later, she starts describing her friend, giving you little anecdotes about her while suffering herself. It's not very long before you love her to death. I read a review once that perfectly captured it: "In the face of derision, torture and death, she rages and jokes and loves." You don't realize what's been happening to her in the beginning until you get to the end... and the layers begin to unfold as you're hooked into re-reading it.

Or the references to things? It helps if you love learning about literature or history... or appreciate the tender and dear parts of Peter Pan... Mothers keeping windows open for lost children; the universal desire to find Neverland; the innocence, faithfulness and fearlessness of youth; growing up; telling the truth. It's very literary... irresistibly intelligent. 

The randomness? I admit, this made me laugh out loud... the main character described her stance once as like the "saint stuck full of arrows"... something that I had seen before - somewhere. In the midst of her suffering, she makes fun of herself. And I can't believe I'm laughing at (with?) someone who's being used and tortured by the epitome of evil.

The descriptiveness! "...people came in and found me doing a frantic imitation of an upside-down tortoise." (About flying...) "...to be alone at the top of the world, deafened by the roar of four winds and two cylinders, with all the Cheshire plain and its green fields and red chimneys thrown at her feet like a tartan picnic blanket."

And what the heck... the life lessons. Finding out what you really fear, realizing what really matters, learning life is always more complicated than you think. 

So... go read it!

More From Verity!

The following was originally posted HERE in May 2012. But I was so happy to be able to read more words of Verity's, I thought it deserved re-posting. Also, I don't ever want to lose track of it.

Ormaie 23.XI.43 JB-S (the date is my guess) I am very disappointed that blogger doesn't support Goudy Old Style.


Talking about this topic makes me really rather proud to be British. We got battered with anti-Nazi propaganda during my Special Operations Executive training, and quite frankly I would be EMBARRASSED if, like German women, the only things my King and Country were asking me to do for the war effort were the “three Ks”—Kinder, Küche, Kirche. (That’s “kiddies, kitchen, and kirk.” All right, “children, kitchen, and church.” But you have to admit it translates better in Scots than in English.

Fräulein Engel, who is translating this document and forever reading over my shoulder, has assured me that the Three K’s are neither current nor Nazi policy, but she has also admitted that there is an astonishing thing called the “Cross of Honor of the German Mother,” which is awarded to you if you have four babies. Or more. 

Four babies or more. For a state decoration! It makes being half-choked to death by an enemy undercover agent seem easy. (That is what I got my state decoration for.)

But as a British woman, I could have done anything. I mean, I might not have been able to get a medal for it, but short of actually being a serviceman on active duty, I could have trained at and done any man’s job I’d wanted, because all the men are busy fighting. Of course, I did train as a radio operator, but I could have been an aircraft mechanic, or a parachute packer, or worked in any number of factories, or learned to drive ambulances. If I’d been a nurse I might have been posted to the front lines when the invasion finally comes. I could have driven my own ambulance to the front. I have an older cousin (a woman)  who was awarded a Military Medal for driving an ambulance in the last war, in 1918.

But I bet back in Germany, even the women with four babies are working as field hands, just the way our British Land Girls are. And I know that Germany’s most daring and accomplished test pilot, Hanna Reitsch, is a woman. Really, though, neither Germany nor Britain is as broadminded as the Russians. They let women fly fighter planes into combat.

Oh—I talk so high-mindedly, but all I’m really doing—all I’ll be remembered for—is this story. I know it is the only thing I’ll ever write—the only thing that matters. I feel as though all the writing I’ve ever done, all the school history essays, the tentative attempts at sonnets, the rambling letters to Mother and Jamie and Maddie, the dreadfully immature adventure stories and the earnest Dramatic Society plays, the brave, witty articles for the Maidsend Aerodrome Officer’s Club newsletter—all of it was only preparation for this—this tremendous manuscript I am writing now. It is meant as a confession but I want it to be as good as a novel. It is my one and only chance at literary perfection—I want it to outlive me. I want it to be my masterpiece—my Finest Hour.

I suppose I am fooling myself. But I wouldn’t be able to write it otherwise.

Written by Elizabeth Wein, 2012

Favorite Quotes... or "I Hope I Don't Get in Trouble for Copyright Infringement"

Seriously... I have a lot of favorite quotes. Took me a week to type them out while I was crossing the Atlantic, returning from deployment. A good time waster... these are only the FAVORITES of my favorites... of the first half. I don't want to RUIN it for anyone. Just know that I can quote the last line of the book without looking and that I love it to DEATH. I guess you'll just have to read the book to find out.


"The warmth and dignity of my flannel skirt and woolly sweater are worth far more to me now than patriotism or integrity."

"Then Maddie was away out of Stockport and up the unmade lanes on the high moors of the Pennine hills. You can see the Pennines all around the city of Stockport, green and bare with fast-moving stripes of cloud and sunlight gliding overhead like a Technicolor moving picture. I know because I went on leave for a weekend and stayed with Maddie and her grandparents, and she took me on her motorbike up the Dark Peak, one of the most wonderful afternoons of my life. It was winter and the sun came out only for about five minutes and even then the sleet didn’t stop falling – it was because the weather was forecast so unflyable that she had the three days off. But for five minutes Cheshire seemed green and sparkling. Maddie’s granddad owns a bike shop and he got some black market petrol for her specially when I visited. I am putting this down (even though it has got nothing to do with aircraft types) because it proves that I know what I’m talking about when I describe what it was like for Maddie to be alone at the top of the world, deafened by the roar of four winds and two cylinders, with all the Cheshire plain and its green fields and red chimneys thrown at her feet like a tartan picnic blanket."

Maddie unwisely engaged in battle with them and said, “Does it always take all three of you to complete a thought? Or can you each do it without your mates if you have enough time to think it over first?” They pushed the bike over. It took Maddie down with it. Because bullying is what idiot Fascists like best.

"‘The English Flight Officer is telling the truth.’ ...You ignorant Quisling bastard, SS-Scharfuhrer Etienne Thibaut, I am SCOTTISH."

"For a blanket in my cold little room, SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Amadeus von Linden, I would without remorse or hesitation rat on my heroic ancestor William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland."

"'Little Scottish piece of shit.' It sounds so pretty in French, p’tit morceau de merde ecossaise. Singlehandedly I have brought down the 700-year-strong Auld Alliance between France and Scotland."

"Don’t you think it makes them stronger when you give them someone to despise? They look at me sniveling in the corner and think, 'Mon Dieu. Don’t ever let me be like her.'"

"Days before Britain declared war on Germany, Maddie flew by herself to the other side of England, skimming the tops of the Pennines and avoiding the barrage balloons like silver ramparts protecting the sky around Newcastle... The Northumbrian coast is the most beautiful length of the whole trip. The sun still sets quite late in the north of England in August, and Maddie on fabric wings flew low over the long sands of Holy Island and saw seals gathered there. She flew over the great castle crags of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh to the north and south, and over the ruins of the twelfth-century priory, and over all the fields stretching yellow and green toward the low Cheviot Hills of Scotland. Maddie flew back following the 70-mile 2,000-year-old dragon’s back of Hadrian’s Wall, to Carlisle and then south through the Lakeland fells, along Lake Windermere. The soaring mountains rose around her, and the poets’ waters glittered beneath her in the valleys of memory – hosts of golden daffodils, Swallows and Amazons, Peter Rabbit. She came home by way of Blackstone Edge above the old Roman road to avoid the smoke haze over Manchester, and landed safely back at Oakway, sobbing with anguish and love; love, for her island home that she’d seen whole and fragile from the air in the space of an afternoon, from coast to coast, holding its breath in a glass lens of summer and sunlight. All about to be swallowed in nights of flame and blackout. Maddie landed at Oakway before sunset and shut down the engine, then sat in the cockpit weeping. More than anything else, I think, Maddie went to war on behalf of the Holy Island seals."

"So. Range and Direction Finding. Coastal Defense. Do I get my thirty pieces of silver? No, just some more of this hotel stationery. It is very nice to write on."

"And every green flash that disappeared [from the RADAR] was a life finished, one man for a fighter, a whole crew for a bomber. Out, out, brief candle. (That is from Macbeth. He is said to be another of my unlikely ancestors, and actually did hold court on my family’s estate from time to time. He was not, by all contemporary Scottish accounts, the treacherous bastard Shakespeare makes him out to be. Will history remember me for my MBE, my British Empire honor for “chivalry,” or for my cooperation with the Gestapo? I don’t want to think about it."

“Can I share your umbrella?” Maddie looked up. Crouched next to her was the small German-speaking wireless operator. She was a vision of feminine perfection and heroism even in her WAAF regulation-issue men’s pajamas, her fair hair tumbling in a loose plait over one shoulder. Everybody else was shedding hairpins; Queenie’s marched in ordered rank on her pajama pocket and would not go back in her hair till she was back in bed. With her slender manicured fingers she offered Maddie her cigarette. “Wish I’d brought a brolly,” she drawled in the plumy, educated tones of the Oxbridge colleges. “Super idea! A portable illusion of shelter and safety. Have you room for two?”

"People are complicated. There is so much more to everybody than you realize. You see someone in school every day, or at work, in the canteen, and you share a cigarette or a coffee with them, and you talk about the weather or last night’s air raid. But you don’t talk so much about what was the nastiest thing you ever said to your mother, or how you pretended to be David Balfour, the hero of Kidnapped, for the whole of the year when you were thirteen, or what you imagine yourself doing with the pilot who looks like Leslie Howard if you were alone in his bunk after a dance."

"Maddie was quite relieved to see the unflappable wireless operator with her guard down. She pushed the Cup That Cheers close to Queenie’s face so that the warmth woke her. They propped their heads on their elbows, facing each other. “Are you scared of anything?” Maddie asked. “Lots of things!”

"Queenie washed back these unlikely confessions with more tea. Maddie stared at her in growing amazement. They were eye to eye across from each other with their chins against their hands and their elbows on the table, and Queenie did not seem to be making it up. She was taking her unlikely inventory very seriously. ...ten, getting lost. Queenie glanced up from dipping “getting lost” in her tea and looked Maddie in the eye. “Now, I can see that you are skeptical and disinclined to believe anything I tell you. And perhaps I’m not really worried about ghosts. But I am afraid of getting lost. I hate trying to find my way around this airfield. ...I keep trying to use planes for landmarks and they keep moving them around.” Maddie laughed."

“You’ve got to anticipate – it’s like shooting birds, you have to fire a little ahead of where they’ll be next...” “Shoot a lot of birds, do you?” Maddie gasped, anger and fear making her peevish about the other girl’s seemingly limitless talents. “I was born in the middle of a grouse moor on the opening day of the shooting season! I could fire a gun before I could read! But this poxy thing is just a wee bit bigger than a Diana air rifle, and I don’t know how it works, so we have to do it together. Like yesterday, all right?” She gave a sudden gasp and asked anxiously, “That’s not one of our planes, is it?” “Can’t you tell?” “Not really.” “Maddie relented. “It’s a Messerschmitt 109.” “Well, clobber it!”

"Queenie paused a moment. “Which way to the northeast air raid shelter from here?” she asked anxiously. “I get so muddled in the smoke.” Maddie pointed. “Straight line across the grass. Easy peasy if you’re brave enough – like finding Neverland, ‘Second to the right and straight on till morning.’” “What about you? Brave enough?” “I’ll be all right. Now I’ve got something to do-” They both ducked instinctively as something exploded at the other end of the runway. Queenie squeezed Maddie around the waist and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. “Kiss me, Hardy! Weren’t those Nelson’s last words at the Battle of Trafalgar? Don’t cry. We’re still alive and we make a sensational team.” Then she hitched up her hair to its two-inch above-the-collar regulation point, swabbed her own tears and the grease and the concrete dust and the gunner’s blood from her cheeks with the back of her hand, and she was off and running again, like the Red Queen. It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend."

"Get your mac on,” Maddie said. “I’m going to teach you to navigate.” Queenie burst out laughing. “Impossible!”...But look at it,” Maddie waved at the window. It was pouring, rain coming down in sheets, a gale blowing. “Just like home,” Queenie said happily. “You don’t get a proper Scotch mist in Switzerland.” Maddie snorted.  ...Use the compass... pretend, Maddie told her, inspired. “Pretend you’re a German spy. You’ve been dropped here by parachute. You’ve got to find your contact, who’s at this legendary smuggler’s cove by the sea, and if anyone catches you – Queenie... was off, pedaling like fury. At the crest of a low rise, she bounded off her bike in one almighty leap like a roe deer away up the glens, and was halfway up a tree before Maddie realized what she was doing. “Get down, you daft idiot!... “Von hier aus kann ich das Meer schen,” said Queenie. “Shut up, you lunatic!” Maddie scolded furiously. “What are you doing?” “Ich bin eine Agentin der Nazis.” Queenie pointed. “Zum Meer geht es da lang.” “You’ll get us both shot!” Queenie considered... “Don’t think so.” “Careless talk costs lives,” Maddie quoted. Queenie laughed so hard she slid gracelessly and painfully from one branch to a lower branch, and tore her coat coming down. “Now just you be quiet, Maddie Brodatt. You told me to be a Nazi spy and I’m being one. I won’t let you get shot.” ...What’s your number one fear? “Court-martial,” Maddie answered briefly. “Why?” “I keep doing things.” ...Queenie paused. Then she asked, “Why are you so damn good at it?” “At what?” “Air navigation.” “I’m a pilot.” ...Queenie was outraged. “You said you didn’t have any skills, you fibber!” ...You’re dead quiet, Maddie said. “Ich habe einen Platten,” Queenie announced. “Speak English, you lunatic!” Queenie stopped her bike and climbed off. “I have a puncture. My tire’s flat.”

"Maddie quickly pulled down the blackout curtains over her bright and vulnerable soul and went off to sort out the tire."

“You must be my contact.” His eyebrows disappeared into his hairline. “Must I?” ...Maddie said furiously, “Pay no attention to her, she’s loopy. She’s been playing daft games all morning.” They all sat down. “Her suggestion,” said Queenie. “The daft games.” “It was my suggestion, but only because she’s so utterly rubbish at finding her way anywhere. I told her to pretend to by a...” “Careless talk costs lives,” Queenie interrupted. “...spy.” Maddie omitted any damning adjectives... “Not just any game,” exclaimed the gentleman in the tweed suit and thick spectacles... “but the Great Game! Have you read Kim? Are you fond of Kipling?” “I don’t know, you naughty man, I’ve never kippled,” Queenie responded tartly. The civilian let out a chortle of delight. Queenie added demurely, “Of course Kipling, of course Kim, when I was little. I prefer Orwell now.”

"Oh, Maddie. I am lost. I have lost the thread. I was indulging myself in details as if they were wool blankets or alcohol, escaping wholly back into the fire-and-water-filled early days of our friendship. We made a sensational team. I was so sure she landed safely."

"What was the point pretending I was in the Bastille? I have spent the past two days in chains, underground, slaving for a monster. Ariadne in the maze of the Minotaur? (I wish I had thought of that earlier.) But I was too busy slaving to pretend much of anything anyway."

"After an exhausting hour or so of this melodrama, v.L. took a break and sauntered over to have a chat with me. I told him in my best Landed Gentry voice of frosty disdain how puny the Third Reich must be if it can’t afford to supply paper to double-crossing informants like myself... Von Linden wanted to know if I’d read Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. I wish I had not gratified him again by gaping... So then we had a genial argument about Orwellian socialism... Eventually von Linden took possession of my recipe cards, my chains were removed, and I was thrown back into my cell. It was a very surreal evening."

"Von Linden’s young soldiers were doing their job, as indifferently and accurately as if they were taking apart a wireless set, with von Linden doing his job as their chief engineer, dispassionately directing and testing and cutting off the power supply. Only your wireless set does not shiver and weep and curse and beg for water and be sick and wipe its nose in its hair as its wires are short-circuited and cut and fried and knotted back together. It just sits there stoically being a wireless set. It doesn’t mind if you leave it tied to a chair for three days sitting in its own effluvium with an iron rail strapped upright against its spine so it can’t lean back. Von Linden was not any more human grilling me about Orwell last night than when he was grilling me about those blasted codes two weeks ago. I am still nothing more than a wireless set to him."

"...Suddenly Maddie faltered. “You’re not really afraid of heights, are you?” “A Wallace and a Stuart, feart o’anythin’? ...High time they put the RAF in kilts,” she remarked, flipping the hem of her uniform skirt disdainfully. Maddie said a silent, secret thank you to Adolf Hitler for giving her this utterly daft chameleon for a friend."

“Hold this,” she bellowed. “See how we’re slant against the sun? ‘Cause there’s a whopper of a crosswind, so we have to crab. Just like sailing. You point the plane sideways. Got it?” Scottie nodded, face pale, jaw set, eyes alight. “See?” Maddie held her own empty hands aloft. “You’re in control. You’re flying the plane. The Flying Scotsman!” The Flying Scotsman squeaked again. “Don’t cling to it – just hold it gently – Oh, well done!” They beamed at each other for a moment. Then they looked back at the sky. “Dympna! Cried Maddie. “Look, look at the sun!” It was green. God’s truth – the rim of the lowering sun, all they could see of it, had turned green. It was sandwiched in between a bank of low dark haze and a higher bank of dark cloud, and just along the upper edge of the haze was this bright lozenge of flaming green, like Chartreuse liqueur with light behind it. Maddie had never seen anything like it... she stared at the sun’s green edge, too, for a long, wind-buffeted glorious half minute. Thirty seconds it lasted, green sunlight breaking the cloud on the horizon. Then the light winked out below the haze again and all three pilots were left blinded in the dull gloom of a showery autumn afternoon. “What was it? Dympna, what was it? A test? A new bomb? What-” “It’s called the green flash,” she said. “It’s just a mirage, a trick of the light. Nothing to do with the war.”

Queenie, herself again, took hold of Maddie’s hand and squeezed it tightly. She walked all the way across the airfield without letting it go. Maddie closed her eyes and flew again in the ethereal pale green light. She knew she would never let it go. I’m sorry. This has got absolutely bugger all to do with Air Taxi. But it was that flight that shoehorned Maddie into the ATA. She was released to them by the WAAF...

"The aspirin and kerosene are part of Operation Cinderella, a program designed to transform me from a feverish, nit-infested, mentally unstable prison rat back into a detained flight officer of cool nerve and confidence, suitable for presentation to a radio interviewer."

"Oh, mein Hauptsturmfuhrer, you are an evil Jerry bastard."

"I want to update my list of “10 Things I Am Afraid Of”. 1) Cold. (I’ve replaced my fear of the dark with Maddie’s fear of being cold. I don’t mind the dark now, especially if it’s quiet. Gets boring sometimes.) ...5) SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Amadeus von Linden ...the man blinds me with fear... 7) Being sent to Natzweiler-Struthof. 8) Being sent back to England and having to file a report on What I Did In France. 9) Not being able to finish my story. 10) Also of finishing it. I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant. But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old."

"I am going to write about Scotland. I wasn’t ever there with Maddie but I feel as though I was. ...Let’s say it’s late in November of ’41...Maddie was delivering a Spitfire to this Scottish airfield where they’d fly out to defend the North Sea shipping, or perhaps to take pictures of Luftwaffe-occupied airfields in Norway. ...Maddie flew alone, careful and happy, low over the snow-tipped Highlands on those pretty tapered wings, deafened by the Merlin engine, navigating by dead reckoning. The glens were full of frost and fog. Fog lay in pillows in the folds of the hills; the distant mountaintops shone dazzling pink and white beneath rays of low sunshine that didn’t touch the Spitfire’s wings. The haar, the North Sea coastal fog, was closing in."

"She and I would not ever have met in peacetime. ...But if she hadn’t been such a cracking radio operator and been promoted so quickly, it’s not likely we’d have become friends even in wartime, because British officers don’t mingle with the Lower Ranks. (I don’t believe it for a minute – that we wouldn’t have become friends somehow – that an unexploded bomb wouldn’t have gone off and blown us both into the same crater, or that God himself wouldn’t have come along and knocked our heads together in a flash of green sunlight. But it wouldn’t have been likely.)"

"I have heard a good many people say that it is leveling the British class system. Leveling is perhaps too strong a word, but it is certainly mixing us up a bit."

"Craig Castle is a small castle – I mean, compared to Edinburgh or Stirling Castles; or Balmoral, where the King lives in the summer; or Glamis, where the Queen’s family lives. But it is a proper castle, bits of it nearly six hundred years old, with its own well in case of siege, and cellars you can use as dungeons or wine stores, and four different endless spiral stairways so that not all of the rooms on every level actually connect. There is a room lost behind a sealed wall (there is also a window missing on the wall outside, and an extra chimney, so we know the room used to be there). Also there are gun rooms and trophy rooms, a billiard room and a smoking room, two libraries, innumerable retiring and drawing rooms, etc. At the moment most of these are under dust sheets because everyone is off doing War work, including the staff. ...He shut the massive oak-and-iron door behind them, and Maddie followed him into the labyrinth where I was born."


"Truth is the daughter of time, not authority.” And: “This above all, to thine own self be true.” ... “I am the soul of verity,” I repeated."

"I could not help being brutal about this. “I will be shot.” She asked for honesty, after all. ...She was silent for a moment. ... “Well. You’re very brave.” All TOSH! ... “Well, you don’t look so healthy,” she said to me. I looked like I’ve just emerged from a sanatorium and am about to lose a long battle with consumption. Starvation and sleep deprivation do leave visible marks, YOU IDIOTS. “I haven’t seen the sun for six weeks,” I said. “But sometimes the weather’s like that back home, too.”

 "Oh, how strange this war is, mirabile dictu- the wee Scots wireless set, I mean operator, is still nursing small, hidden, nasty short circuits got during her savagely inhumane interrogation- yet she can keep a straight face as she sits beneath the Venetian chandelier with the American Penn and the Germans Engel and von Linden, sharing cognac and complaining about the French!"

"...he wondered if I likened myself to Faust. Nothing like an arcane literary debate with your tyrannical master while you pass the time leading to your execution. When he left I said to him, “Je vous souhaite une bonne nuit” – “I wish you a good night” – not because I wished him a good night but because that is what the German officer says to his unyielding passive-resistant French hosts every night in Le Silence de la Mer – that tract of Gallic defiance and the literary spirit of the French Resistance." [This made me think of Steinbeck's The Moon is Down, which I read years ago.]

"Oh my God, why do I do it - again and again? I HAVE THE BRAIN OF A PTARMIGAN HEN. HE WILL SEE ANYTHING I WRITE."

You know, I envied her. I envied her the simplicity of her work, the spiritual cleanness of it – Fly the plane, Maddie. That was all she had to do. There was no guilt, no moral dilemma, no argument or anguish – danger, yes, but she always knew what she was facing. And I envied that she had chosen her work herself and was doing what she wanted to do. I don’t suppose I had any idea what I “wanted” and so I was chosen, not choosing. There’s glory and honor in being chosen. But not much room for free will. Thirteen days’ flying and two days off. Never knowing where she’d get her next meal or spend the night. No social life to speak of – but moments, now and then, unexpected and unlooked for, of solitary joy - alone in the sky in the cruise, straight and level at 4000 feet over the Cheviots or the Fens or the Marches, or dipping her wings in salute to a passing vic of Spitfires.

"Freedom, oh, freedom. Even with the shortages, and the blackout, and the bombs, and the rules, and daily life so drab and dull most of the time – once you cross the English Channel you are free. How simple, and amazing really, that no one in France lives without fear, without suspicion. ...I mean the insidious, demoralizing fear of betrayal..."

"I dreamed I was flying with Maddie, in the five minutes or however short a time it was when there was a lull next door and I actually fell asleep. In my dream the moon was full but it was green, bright green – I kept thinking, We’re in the limelight! But of course... this was like the green flash, and I kept wondering, How did I escape? I couldn’t remember how I got out of Ormaie. But it didn’t matter; I was on my way home in Maddie’s Puss Moth, I was safe and Maddie was alongside me flying confidently, and the sky was quiet and full of the beautiful green moon."

"You know, the stupid man’s big mistake was in calling me ENGLISH. It made my fury wholly convincing. A whore – we've established that; filthy, it goes without saying; but whatever else the hell I am, I AM NOT ENGLISH."

"...They didn’t notice that he’d hurt me and they didn’t notice that I do make fatal small mistakes from time to time. But Maddie noticed both. “Come get warm,” she said. Queenie stubbed out her cigarette and turned off the light. She didn’t get into her own bed, though; she climbed in next to Maddie. Maddie put careful arms around the bruised shoulders, because her friend was shaking all over now. She hadn’t been before. “It’s not a nice job,” Queenie whispered. “It’s not like your job – blameless.” “I’m not blameless,” said Maddie. “Every bomber I deliver goes operational and kills people... Just because I don’t do it myself doesn’t mean I’m not responsible. I deliver you.” “Blond bombshell,” Queenie said, and spluttered with laughter at her own joke. Then she began to cry. Maddie held her lightly, thinking she would let go when her friend stopped crying. But she cried for so long that Maddie fell asleep first. So she didn’t ever let go."

"My heart is sair, I darena tell; my heart is sair for somebody; O, I could wake a winter’s night; a’ for the sake o’ somebody. Ye pow’rs that smile on virtuous love; O sweetly smile on somebody; frae ilka danger keep her free, and send me safe my somebody." [Robert Burns, song, 1794]

"I like writing about Maddie. I like remembering. I like constructing it, focusing, crafting the story, pulling together the memories. But I am so tired. I can’t craft anything more tonight. Whenever I stop, to stretch, to reach for another sheet of paper, to rub my eyes, this utter shit of a bastard who is guarding me touches the back of my neck with his cigarette. I am only writing this because it stops him burning me. He cannot read English (or Scots) and as long as I keep covering page after page with lines from “Tam o’Shanter” he does not hurt me. I can’t keep it up forever, but I know an awful lot of Robert Burns by heart. Burns, ha-ha, Burns to stop the burns."

"Behead me or hang me, that will never fear me- I’LL BURN ACHINDOON ere my life leave me."

"[She was] given a week’s leave To Think About Her Work and whether she wanted to continue it. In other words, Queenie was given the opportunity to Gracefully Bow Out. She spent the week in Castle Craig with her lady mother, the long-suffering Mrs. Darling (as it were) – poor Mrs. Darling never had a clue what any of her six children were actually doing, or when they were coming or going, and she was not best pleased at the black marks on her fine-boned daughter’s Celtic white skin. “Pirates,” Queenie said. “I was bound to the mast by Captain Hook.”

"At the end of my week of reflection I decided that, like my dubious ancestor Macbeth, I was in figurative blood stepped in so far that there wasn’t much point in turning back; and also I loved being Eva Seiler. I loved the playacting and the pretence and the secrecy of it, and I flattered myself with my own importance."

"So mentally prepared, there was then packing to do – cigarettes... clothing coupons... ration cards, two million francs in small notes (now confiscated – it truly makes me ill to think about it), pistol, compass, brain. And then just waiting for the moon... Just when you have decided “Bother the Prime Minister!” and are looking forward to another dreamy afternoon with Anton Walbrook, the phone rings again and You Are Operational. Have I got the right shoes on, you wonder frantically, and bloody hell, where did I leave my two million francs? Maddie, lucky beast, did not have to endure any of this. Maddie just picked up her ferry chit as usual from the Oakway Operations hut, grinned at the “S” and the destination “RAF Buscot” because it meant she’d get to share a cup of tea with her best friend at some point in the next twenty-four hours, and walked out to the Puss Moth with her gas mask and her flight bag. It was routine. Incredible to think what an ordinary day it was for her, to begin with."

"It’s awful, telling it like this, isn’t it? As though we didn’t know the ending. As though it could have another ending. It’s like watching Romeo drink poison. Every time you see it you get fooled into thinking his girlfriend might wake up and stop him. Every single time you see it you want to shout, “You stupid ass, just wait a minute,” and she’ll open her eyes! “Oi, you, you twat, open your eyes, wake up! Don’t die this time!” But they always do."

"I wonder how many piles of paper like mine are lying around Europe, the only testament to our silenced voices, buried in filing cabinets and steamer trunks and cardboard boxes as we disappear – as we vanish into the night and fog? Assuming you don’t incinerate all record of me when you’re done with it, what I’d love to capture, to trap here for eternity in amber, is how exciting it was to come here. Me skipping across the concrete as I got out of the Puss Moth, through crisp October air smelling of leaf smoke and engine exhaust, thinking, France, France! Ormaie again, at last! The whole of Craig Castle had wept for Ormaie as the German army marched in three years ago – we have all been here before, visiting la famille de ma grandmere – now the elms are all cut down for firewood and barricades, the fountains are all dry except the one they use to water horses and put out fires, and the rose garden in memory of my great-uncle in the Place des Hirondelles has been dug up and the square is full of armored vehicles. When I got here there was a row of rotting dead men hanging from a balcony of the Hotel de Ville, the town hall. The evil of daily life here is indescribable, and if this is civilization then it is beyond the capacity of my smallish brain to imagine the evil of a place like Natzweiler-Struthof."

"You know, I speak German because I love German. What good was a degree in German literature going to do me? I was reading it because I loved it. Deutschland, das Land der Dichter und Denker, land of poets and thinkers. And now I will never even see Germany, unless they send me to Ravensbruck – I will never see Berlin, or Cologne, or Dresden – or the Black Forest, the Rhine Valley, the blue Danube. I hate you, Adolf Hitler, you selfish wee beastie of a man, keeping Germany all to yourself. YOU RUIN EVERYTHING.

Bother. I did not mean to deviate like that. I want to remember – How after supper, my admirer the police-sergeant-cook produced real coffee for us. How Jamie and Maddie lay on the hearthrug in front of the fire in the sitting room beneath the staring glass eyes of the stuffed foxes and partridges on the mantelpiece, Jamie’s sleek blond head and Maddie’s untidy black curls bent low together in conspiracy over Jamie’s map, thoroughly against all regulations, discussing the route to Ormaie. How we all crowded around the radio to hear our own code announced on the BBC- “Tous les enfants, sauf un, grandissent” – the random message that told our reception committee in France whom to expect that night. It is the first line of Peter Pan. “All children, except one, grow up.” Expect the usual lads with one exception – tonight there’s one wee lassie coming along. How we sat shivering on deck chairs in The Cottage garden, watching the sun set. How we all jumped when the phone rang."

I confess that it was my idea to find a substitute. ...And now it was dark and the BBC announcement had been made and the reception committees in France were waiting and the Lysanders were out there with their long-range tanks full of fuel and the rear cockpits full of guns and radios. And bouncing on her flat heels, full of coffee and nerve and code, was Eva Seiler, Berlin’s interpretive liaison with London, soon to insinuate herself into the German-speaking underworld of Ormaie. “Maddie can fly the plane.” ...Jamie laughed. Jamie, sweet Jamie – the interpretive liaison’s loving toeless Pobble of a brother, laughed and said with force, “No. ...There’s no one to authorize the flight.” “Ring the Bloody Machiavellian English Intelligence Officer.” “He’s got no Air Ministry authority.” ATA First Officer Brodatt made her move at last, and trumped him calmly. “If it’s a ferry flight,” she said, “I can authorize it myself. Let me use the telephone.” And she rang her C.O. to let him know she had been asked to taxi one of her usual passengers from RAF Special Duties to an “Undisclosed Location.” And he gave her permission to go.

"...but woke instantly when the padlocks and bolts on my door began their official-sounding sequence of thuds and clicks, as it always fills me with the most curious mixture of wild hope and sick dread when they unlock my door. I have slept through air raids more than once, but when my door is unlocked I am instantly On My Guard. I stood up. It is pointless backing against the wall, and I have stopped bothering about my hair. But the Wallace in me still makes me want to face the enemy on my feet."

"It hurt worse than being slapped, being shown the irony of his life. And of mine, of mine – OF MINE – Isolde alive in the day and the sun while I suffocate in Night and Fog, the unfairness of it, the random unfairness of everything, of me being here and Isolde being in Switzerland, and Engel not getting any cognac and Jamie losing his toes. And Maddie, Oh, lovely Maddie, MADDIE. I pulled the eiderdown over my head, sobbing at his feet...Then he bent down and uncovered my head gently... “Eva Seiler,” he breathed, “You might have spared yourself a great deal of suffering if you had confessed this sooner.” “But I wouldn’t have been able to write it all down if I’d done that,” I wept. “So it was worth it.” “For me as well... You have redeemed me.” He straightened up and bowed his head courteously. Almost a salute. ...he baffles me. I suppose it is mutual."

"The drone of the engine mingled with her passenger humming over the intercom – “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” “You are far too jolly,” Maddie scolded sternly. “Be serious!” “We are told to smile all the time,” Queenie said. “It’s in the SOE instructor’s handbook...” Maddie did not answer, and after half an hour of flying over the serene, smooth, silver and black eternity of the English Channel, Queenie asked suddenly, “What are you worrying about?” “It’s cloudy over Caen,” Maddie said, “and there’s light in the clouds.” “What d’you mean, light?” “Flickering light. Pinkish. Could be lightning. Could be gunfire... I’m going to change course a bit and go around it.” This was a lark. Light in the clouds, who cares? Let’s change direction. We were tourists. Maddie’s alternative route over the Normandy coast went straight over Mont St. Michel, the island citadel glorious in the moonlight, casting long moon shadows over the swelling tide in a bay that shone like spilt mercury. Searchlights swept the sky but missed the gray-bellied Lysander. Maddie set a new course for Angers. “Less than an hour to go at this rate,” Maddie told her passenger. “Are you still smiling?” “Like an idiot.”

"Queenie squeezed Maddie’s shoulder. “Better do it quick,” Maddie said. “Before the blooming plane goes any higher.” “Kiss me, Hardy,” Queenie said. Maddie gave a sobbed gasp of laughter. She bent her head to the cold hand on her shoulder and kissed it warmly. The small fingers brushed her cheek, gave her shoulder one last squeeze, and retreated through the bulkhead. Maddie heard the rear canopy slide open. She felt the faintest dip in the aircraft’s balance as the weight shifted. Then she flew alone."

"I like the flute music... I wrote very lightly in pencil between the notes, because someone may want to play it again someday... When the bombing stops. When the tide turns. And it will."

"I am going to write it down in all its pretentious glory. I used to like to write my full name when I was small – as you will see, it was quite an accomplishment for a small person: Julia Lindsay MacKenzie Wallace Beaufort-Stuart."

"I don’t think of myself as Flight Officer Beaufort-Stuart any more than I am Scheherazade, the other name he’s given me. I am Julie. That is what my brothers called me, what Maddie called me always, and that is what I call myself."

"...what comfort will I take with me to my execution? What comfort for any of us...? And why? ...All I have done is buy myself time, the time to write this. I haven’t really told anyone anything of use. I’ve only told a story. But I have told the truth. Isn’t that ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth. I have even remembered some electrifying famous last words which I have been saving up to finish with. They are Edith Cavell’s, the British nurse... who was caught and shot for treason... “Patriotism is not enough – I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone.” ... I think her actual last words were “I am glad to die for my country.” I can’t say I honestly believe such sanctimonious twaddle... The truth is, I like “Kiss me, Hardy” better. Those are fine last words. Nelson meant that when he said it. Edith Cavell was fooling herself. Nelson was being honest. So am I. I am finished now, so I will just sit here writing it again and again until I can no longer stay awake or someone discovers what I am doing and takes the pen away. I have told the truth."

"I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told the truth. I have told"

[And because I CAN'T help it, here are some of my Favorite, FAVORITE favorites from the 2nd part]

"Sometimes Julie used to make me jealous – her cleverness, her ease with men, how posh she is – the grouse shooting and the Swiss school and speaking three languages and being presented to the king in a blue silk ball gown – even her MBE after she caught those spies, like being knighted, and especially her term at Oxford – and I hate myself for ever having thought that any of it was worth envying. Now all I can think of is where she is and how much I love her."

"I dreamed I was flying with Julie. I was taking her home, flying up to Scotland in Dympna’s Puss Moth. We were heading up the coast along the North Sea, the sun hanging low in the west – sky and sea and sand all gold, gold light all around us... it was now, late November 1943, with the first snow on the Cheviot Hills in the west. We were flying low over the long sands at Holy Island, and it was beautiful, but the plane kept trying to climb and I was fighting and fighting to keep it down. Just like the Lysander. ...Then Julie, sitting alongside me, said, “Let me help.” In the dream the Puss Moth had side-by-side dual controls like a Tipsy, and Julie took hold of her own control column and gently pushed the nose forward, and suddenly we were flying the plane together. All the pressure was gone. Nothing to be afraid of, nothing to battle against, just the two of us flying together, flying the plane together, side by side in the gold sky. “Easy peasy,” she said, and laughed, and it was."

"Oh, Julie, wouldn’t I know if you were dead? Wouldn’t I feel it happening, like a jolt of electricity to my heart?"

DISCLAIMER: ALL OF THESE WORDS [except brackets] ARE THE PROPERTY OF ELIZABETH WEIN (and probably her publisher too) and I hope if they come across this site they will look on me with favor and realize I'm just trying to get more people to read this wonderful book. And it was super fun to look up all the websites for things and I learned a lot more than I intended to. So, thank you.

Fan Fiction and Other Craziness

Here's my favorite! [The missing scene of the motorbike ride up the Dark Peak]

Never mind. This is my new favorite! [a perfect letter; post story]
Another fine moment! [post story, Maddie remembers a missing moment]
A Sad One! [post story, Maddie writes about the end of the war]

My First Fan-Fiction [an obligatory attempt at saving Julie]
My Last Fan-Fiction? [Isolde learns about her father]
Nope! I Collaborated to Write: [a post story Jamie/Maddie proposal] Feb 2016

Associated artwork "Lysander Moon" by co-author Jael Baldwin, February 2016.

(Maddie/Jamie CNV art by Jael)

Nobody's Angel [Anna Engel's secret diary]

And here's the link to all of them on AO3. (archive of our own)

Four different book quizzes on Goodreads.
A SCREENPLAY in 6 parts!  [April 2015]
An "Education Presentation".  [May 2015]

You Must Watch This!
[a Code Name Verity inspired music video... 
"When Brakes Get Wet" song by Julie Doiron]

A book trailer for the Czech version.

The Sweater:
From the author.

So I don't feel alone when telling how I found my own sweater and skirt... I was poking around a local thrift store, because I always love discovering things... and I noticed this lovely sweater. So of course, I thought, "I wonder if they have a gray flannel skirt?"... and they did... just one... in my size. Five dollars for each item. And the lady at the counter commented on the color and thought it was beautiful. I couldn't help smiling like an idiot, and I actually shouted with laughter when I got out the door. It was too random and wonderful to be true. I've never been so happy to be blond.

-Jennifer Waters (just another hopeless, addicted fan)

And don't forget book trailers and interviews on YouTube.

Look what I wish I could buy:

The so-called Code Name Verity Effect is well documented:

It's just so perfect... juxtaposed with those other sayings. All of these are from fans on Twitter at #codenameverity

And then there's the dorky (after my own heart); a fan took over her child's coloring book:

And there is fan art everywhere and way more artistic than I could ever be. The author has put it together on her Pinterest page. And there's a second Pinterest page here. And another one! Basically, it's all over the place.

So, thank you to fans everywhere.
You make me smile.

And Kiss Me, Hardy!

I'm Putting It Down To Keep It Straight In My Own Mind

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love It

1. The Friendship. My soul is literally green with envy, because of their love for each other. I love how they envy each other, but how that feeling gets squashed in the face of their love.

1a. The understanding of a platonic friendship. Close friends of mine stopped being my friends when we were seniors in college because they thought we would be perceived as lesbians because I loved them so much. What an epic fail. I have WORDS now, for why this hurt so bad, from what other people wrote about the theme of this book: through Maddie's eyes. [And I've since realized that we were the same ages then as Julie & Maddie were; my friends were 21, I was 23. How is that possible? It's like God dropped this book out of heaven into my hands.]

2. Military Women. Being one myself, it was SO NEAT to read about girls worrying about the same kinds of things that I worry about. Hair Touching My Collar. Falling Asleep On Duty. Getting the Uniform Right. Always Doing Things.

3. Everything I've said before... subtlety, intelligence, literary banter, descriptions, references, details, humor, etc.

4. WWII. I have always loved learning about WWII... not really sure why. Maybe because it was so very much a Good vs. Evil type of war. And I've ALWAYS loved military history. Learning about the SOE and the ATA was very cool.

5. I want to be a pilot. I'm not sure if my family believes me when I say I thought of this MONTHS BEFORE I read the book. I started the book and I couldn't believe the timing! All about airplanes and the euphoria of seeing the earth from above; very naturally defying gravity.

6. Things in common with Julie: her love of Germany. That one paragraph about never seeing it... and how she weeps over The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp... how Wagner's Tristan and Isolde makes her crumple on the floor. In 2003, I learned about the re-unification of Germany in English history class... and it sparked quite an interest... I read two books about it just for fun (A Mighty Fortress, The German Empire). And in 2011, I started learning German just for fun too. Picking majors: In fact, I majored in history for the SAME reason that she studied German; learning it because we love it. It's not really much USE. And her tom-boyishness: she grew up pretending to be David Balfour and William Wallace. I grew up pretending to be Zorro, Robin Hood, or Captain Parmenter from F Troop... although my older sisters usually made me be Sergent Garcia or the Sheriff of Nottingham when we played together.

Random coincidences: I know what it feels like to be burned with a soldering iron. I was repairing a small electronics fan. I thought I was going to lose a hunk of my finger; it was ashy-white instantly; the shock of it delayed the pain. Afterwords, the fear of soldering irons was practically paralyzing. It took a great deal of courage to pick one up again.
And I was thinking about Lord Nelson when we sailed near Cape Trafalgar (didn't even realize that's where we were - and this was 5 months before I read CNV). On the way home, after I read it, we pulled into France. And I thought France! FRANCE! (just like her) as I skipped along the ship to my watch-station before we pulled in. The French memorial I photographed at the Town Hall in Nice turned out to honor the resistance fighters who were hung there in 1944. Bloody Nazis.

6a. Personality-wise I'm much more like Maddie. I can't even begin to say how much.

7. Suffering, and longing for home. I read this while I was stuck on a ship for nine months, half-way around the world, cut off from everything I knew and loved. And feeling VERY ALONE. I am pretty different from everyone else, being a university graduate (but enlisted) and a nerd about lots of random stuff, liking a lot of arcane and non-mainstream type things. I don't watch much TV, I don't listen to the radio, I don't use vulgar language, and I was home-schooled. They lovingly called me "Grandma" because I like classic movies and "Amish" because I can sew. (There's those nicknames! "Just like school.") So I felt for Julie, all alone, scared, but still fighting. I think it helped me not give up... my faith? The will to do my best, to get through deployment and still be myself? Who knows. I'm still figuring it out, what happened to me and who I am now.

8. Dream a Little Dream of Me is the song that my husband and I have shared from the beginning of our relationship (2009). It's our song. I love that it's also Maddie and Julie's.

9. The day that Maddie and Julie fly to France is my husband's birthday.

10. My mom's name is Jamie and my best friend's name is Julie.

---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ----------------

Looking over all these points, it seems rather improbable how much things tie into my own life... but I have told the truth. It blew my mind.

---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ----------------

What are the chances of reading an article about the Gestapo, the SOE and the occupation of Paris a month before picking up Code Name Verity? I had a "didn't I just read something about this?" kind of moment.

From the July/August 2014 issue of World War II magazine:
 Yes, it happened. Purchased ashore at NSA Bahrain.

I would have loved doing the following things anyway, but... :)

First day back from deployment,                   And a month later... I took off...
on the backseat; it was my first time.             (with an instructor, of course)