Friday, March 15, 2013

Blog Tour & Excerpt: Spy Island (Sophie Schiller)

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An adventurous girl in the West Indies risks her life to save a German U-boat deserter and stumbles into a nest of German spies hell-bent on taking over her tranquil island.In 1916, Abigail Maduro plunges headfirst into the dangerous world of espionage when she travels to the West Indies to live with her Aunt Esther and witnesses a brutal murder at the hands of a notorious German spy. Vowing revenge, Abby embarks on a career as a spy hunter, not realizing that St. Thomas is a hotbed for German spies and saboteurs who use their Hamburg-America steamers to run clandestine missions against the Allies. But Abigail has more pressing problems of her own. She's forced to work as a seamstress, and is on the constant receiving end of her aunt's vicious tirades. Her only salvation are the two aging servants, Nana Jane, the daughter of an African slave with a taste for gossip, and Cooky Betty, the rotund, back-talking cook who samples most of what she makes.
A chance encounter with a mysterious stranger hurls Abby to the center of the conflict. Erich Seibold claims to be a stranded sailor in desperate need of shelter. Despite the danger, Abby hides Erich in the basement of her house and friendship blossoms between the two outsiders, even after Abby learns that he is a deserter from a German U-boat. The local German Consul, Lothar Langsdorff, also discovers Erich's true identity and blackmails him into committing sabotage and murder. When Erich is arrested, Abigail attempts a daring breakout to free him. But with Langsdorff still on the loose, Abigail relies on wits, bravery and a little island magic to save her island from a dangerous German spy.

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies amid aging pirates and retired German spies. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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I trail the policeman through the courtyard, attempting to avert my gaze from the hissing prisoners as I search for Erich. Suddenly, we halt in front of a cell door in the prison's southern wall. 

"You have five minutes, no more, then be on your way," says the policeman, inserting the key in the lock and calling out, "Hey Kaiser man, you have a visitor."

When the prisoner turns around, my relief is boundless. Although his face is obscured by the shadows, I have no doubt that it's Erich. As soon as he sees me, Erich bolts upright and starts toward us, but the jailer holds up his huge, powerful hand. 

"Not so fast, Kaiser man," he yells. "Stop right dere. Talk from ovah dere." 

The policeman turns and retraces his steps through the courtyard, leaving us alone for a few precious minutes. With the door ajar, I slip inside Erich's cell and throw my arms around him. 

"Erich! I thought I'd never see you again. Are you alright?"

"I’m fine," he says, with a mixture of shock and relief. "And what about you? How the devil did you manage to get in here?"

"I have my ways," I say. "I did what anybody would do under the circumstances. But I had to see you again, no matter what. What are they going to do to you?" 

"They'll charge me with espionage, but only after they interrogate me for any useful information I care to divulge about German wartime strategy."

I hiss in his ear. "Now listen carefully. I'm going to get you out of here. Just do what I say…there’s no time to lose."

"What? Are you crazy?"

"I'm quite serious," I affirm, pulling out the gendarme uniform. "It's our only chance. Put it on quick. The outside gate is still unlocked and there's only one policeman on duty right now. Larsen's in his office daydreaming and if you hurry, you might be able to slip through the front gate. I calculate you have about two minutes."

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