For the past several years, I’ve been recommending Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein as the best book I’ve read in ages. Okay, it’s not fantasy, but it’s historical fiction, which is also near and dear to my heart. It takes place during World War II, and tells the story of two young British women, an intelligence agent and a pilot, and the friendship they form. The book is divided in two sections, each protagonist getting her own narrative.
At the outset we meet our first protagonist, the intelligence agent—she calls herself Queenie—as a prisoner of the German army in occupied France. Her narrative shifts between a first-person account of her harsh treatment at the hands of the Nazis, seeking to extract valuable codes from her, and a third-person recollection of her developing friendship with the pilot and sharpshooter Maddie, whom her captors inform her died when her plane crashed. Everything is ostensibly recorded in a diary cobbled together from whatever materials her captors afford her, rife with disgust at her own cowardice and collaboration.
(Major spoilers ahead.)