The Secret Breakers series of books is written by my friend Helen. We met at Noah’s Ark baby group where Helen led the singing (brilliantly!). Our babies are now almost seventeen years old and the stories Helen wanted to tell are now available to all as with much hard work, commitment and dedication she got a six book deal with Hodder. They are aimed for readers who are nine years old plus and the strapline to the series is “Da Vinci Code for kids”. The central premise is the breaking of the code of the Voynich Manuscript, a genuine manuscript which was discovered in 1912 with an as yet unbroken code. As an adult I have enjoyed reading the books, I didn’t take history as an option at school and there is so much historical information that I’m unaware of. It’s been interesting to find out about Professor Van der Essen, the mail rail, Elgar, Colonel George Fabyan, Riverbank Labs, Savonarola, Sir Francis Bacon and a lot more.
I took this picture at the launch of the first book at Mr and Mrs Doak’s Bumper Bookshop for Boys and Girls. There was a very nice breakfast!
I had one small piece of fabric printed with a Brighton Pavilion motif and as the first Secret Breakers book, The Power of Three, has an action scene set there I wanted to use it to make something for Helen.
I made a little gift bag.
As you can’t give an empty gift bag, I made some chocolate cookies to put in it.
Helen gives lots of author talks and code-breaking events and I think this bag is now used to hold the book plates.
Here is a picture I took at a book signing at Waterstone’s book store for the second book.
After I had read the second book, The Orphan of the Flames, I realised I had some fabric in my stash which would work well for another bag. Elgar and his love of code is part of this story and there is a vehicle called the Matroyska, I had material which matches both of these themes.
I added a removable silver phoenix charm as the phoenix is another important idea.
And filled the bag with more cookies! Apricot and almond this time.
Here I am reading the third book in the series, The Knights of Neustria, over a solitary hotel breakfast.
I always read the dedication in books first and it was a really thrilling moment for me when I opened the third book and read my own name.
If you have any young readers in your life who enjoy stories with action and adventure I would highly recommend the Secret Breakers series of books and not just because I am an extremely proud friend! Check out the official website here.