‘It Adds Up to Bravery’ byElizabeth Wein #TheEnigmaGame

Windyedge Airfield, Scotland. World War II.

Louisa Adair, newly orphaned and shunned for her mixed-race heritage, has come here to the edge of the world to look after an old lady with a dark past. Jamie Beaufort-Stuart is a flight lieutenant whose squadron is posted to the airfield over winter. Ellen McEwan is a young woman held hostage by the German pilot who lands at Windyedge one wild stormy night carrying a terrible secret.

Three young people desperate to make a difference in a war that has decimated their families, friends and country. When the means to change the course of history falls into their hands, how will they use it? And when the enemy comes looking for them, who will have the courage to strike back?

A thrilling story of wartime secrets, international intrigue and wild courage from the award-winning author of Code Name Verity, with three young heroes you’ll never forget.

Information about the Book
Genre: YA Historical
Publication Date: 14th May  2020
Page Count: 424
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51228682-the-enigma-game
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Enigma-Game-Elizabeth-Wein-ebook/dp/B0844KCGRW

‘It Adds Up to Bravery’ – Elizabeth Wein on bravery in The Enigma Game 

In the aftermath of the attacks on 11 September 2001, nearly twenty years ago, I, like many other people I know, struggled with feeling that my work as a writer was pretty pointless and irrelevant to real life. I expected that the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic might make me feel the same way. Instead it’s had the opposite effect, making me, and other creators, realise how hugely important our work is towards keeping people entertained, engaged, and hopeful. It’s a *hard* time to be a creator, but it’s also, in a way, exciting.

As I explored the themes I was writing about in September 2001, I made a discovery – the opposite of fear isn’t bravery. The opposite of fear is love. It was all those last phone calls, all those doomed voices telling friends and family one last time, ‘I can’t get out. I love you.’ Often, we’re brave simply because we’re doing it for someone else.

I often force my characters to be brave. Like real people, like us, they don’t always want to be, so I have to motivate them. In The Enigma Game, Jamie’s motivation as a bomber pilot is to keep his squadron safe while getting them to their targets. It’s his responsibility for his friends and co-workers that drives him on. Fifteen-year-old Louisa Adair, the novel’s half-Jamaican, half-English heroine, often uses the memory of her merchant seaman father to keep her spirits up and inspire her when she’s trapped in a tough corner. And Ellen, the novel’s third narrator, is often spurred to action when she sees fear in others, even if she’s terrified herself.

I think that people are often unaware of their own bravery. In The Enigma Game, Louisa is fascinated by Felix Baer, the rogue German pilot, who turns up in her Scottish village with a gun in one hand and an Enigma machine in the other. While Ellen is terrified of him, Louisa doesn’t believe he’ll hurt anyone, so she faces him down without fear. And the old woman Jane Warner’s reaction to the situation is a lot like mine is to our own challenging times: ‘How very exciting this is!’ Her bravery is born of her unflagging interest in and zest for life. She doesn’t want to miss anything.

When Louisa thinks back on her first encounter with Felix Baer, she observes, ‘Each bit had been awful, but it added up to bravery.’

Maybe, when we look back at these strange days we’re living through, we’ll realise how brave we’ve been in hindsight – how our small acts of kindness and risk have helped others, how we’ve persevered by going to work in some cases or NOT going to work in others, how we’ve faced the disappointments of not being able to graduate or marry or go to the theatre or play sports or hug our grandparents – how, as Louisa says, each bit was awful, but it adds up to bravery.

I hope, in some small way, readers of The Enigma Game will respond to my fictional Jamie, Louisa, and Ellen with their own brave acts in real life!

Elizabeth Wein is a church bell ringer, a recreational pilot, and the owner of about a thousand maps. She grew up in England, Jamaica, and Pennsylvania, and has lived in Scotland since 2000, where she learned to fly at the Scottish Aero Club. She is best known for her historical fiction about young women as aviators in World War II, including Code Name Verity (2012), which became a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. Elizabeth holds both American and British citizenship; she is married to games developer Tim Gatland and they have two grown children.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ewein2412

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