The Enigma Game: a New Mix of Mystery and Historical Fiction


In 1940s Scotland, three people are trying to make a difference in the middle of World War II. Louisa Adair, a Jamaican orphan in charge of caring for an elderly German woman,  Ellen McEwen, a volunteer driver for the local air base, and Jamie Beaufort, a squadron flight leader, all do their part in different ways to help the war effort.

But when a mysterious plane lands at the Royal Air Base, a German plane carrying the mysterious secret agent Odysseus, these three lives will be drawn together into a secret much bigger than themselves. Jamie discovers an encoded message while flying with his squadron that connects to the strange German pilot; but how? Louisa and Ellen learn more about the pilot himself as he stays at the same inn as them, but the more they learn the less it makes sense. What is one of the enemy pilots doing here?

This novel, “The Enigma Game” by Elizabeth Wein is a good read for people ages twelve and up. There’s some slight violence and the descriptive language can be intense at parts, which could make it difficult for a younger audience. Those who enjoy historical fiction and World War II era fiction will enjoy this novel, because it goes very in-depth about the culture and character interactions, and that makes it feel like you’re really there with the characters. The plot reminded me of a mystery because of how the different elements of the story all eventually fell together. 

I liked how the emotion from the characters is shown really clearly by their actions, and the different points of view for each of the three main characters. There is a lot of descriptive language and the plot starts slow, so it takes patience to read, but it has a good balance of action and storytelling. People who like books with more action and less detail might not like this book.Elizabeth Wein’s other novels, “Code Name Verity” and “The Pearl Thief,” also feature characters from this book, but the stories aren’t connected so you don’t have to have read the other books to understand the plot of “The Enigma Game.”