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You are here: Home » Series: The Agency

THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL by Y.S. Lee Book Review
Series: The Agency, #3
Publication Date: February 28th 2012 by Candlewick Press
Rating: |

Book Summary: Get steeped in suspense, romance, and high Victorian intrigue as Mary goes undercover at Buckingham Palace – and learns a startling secret at the Tower of London.

Queen Victoria has a little problem: there’s a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quickwitted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary’s onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? Hoist on your waders for Mary’s most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn’t be higher – and she has everything to lose.

Book Review Overview:

  • A mystery that will keep you guessing at the edge of your seat
  • Mary/James chemistry is as great as ever
  • Fantastic third installment in the Agency series; I want more

Disclaimer: You probably don’t want to read this review of THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL by YS Lee if you have not read the two previous books. I highly recommend them.

Mary Quinn is back undercover – this time as a parlor maid in the Buckingham Palace – investigating a string of petty thefts. Y.S. Lee is a fantastic mystery writer that will leave you at the edge of your seat. She will keep you guessing, only to leave your jaw hanging wide open at the climax of the novel. THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL by YS Lee has an ending you’ll never see coming.

One of the reasons that I love the Agency series by YS Lee is the fact that Mary is half Chinese. It’s rare that you ever see that in a Victorian novel, but Lee makes it work. There’s so much depth to Mary because of her backstory. Not only is she half-Chinese, but she’s also an orphan and a criminal. Mary has so many things going against her that you can’t help but cheer for her character. She continues to be a headstrong character in THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL by YS Lee. I love that we are finally given more insight to her Chinese ancestry and questions about her background are finally answered. (Yep, no spoilers – that’s all your getting from me.)

Okay, I admit that I had to slow myself down at times. I mentally chastised myself for reading way too quickly just so I can get to the next Mary/James encounter. But then again, who can blame me? One of the reasons why I love this series is for the fantastic sexual tension between Mary and James. THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL by YS Lee is no exception. Lots of banter, teasing, and romantic moments that will be sure to please fans. James and Mary continue to be one of my favorite couples in YA.

Like any historical novel that I read, I did question the historical accuracy of some parts of THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL by YS Lee. It’s only right that I do. But whatever questions that popped up in my head were soon squashed, once I remembered Lee’s background. She has a PhD in Victorian literature and culture! I love that I can put my trust in an author’s writing to be historically accurate.

Fans of the Agency series by YS Lee will be satisfied with the third installment without a doubt. And of course, I definitely did my fan girl dance when I found out that there is a fourth book in the works.

Why I’m Biased: I’m in love with this series. Y.S. Lee can do no wrong.

Other Book Reviews:
Baggins’s Book Blabber

About the Author

Y. S. Lee was born in Singapore but brought up in Canada. She also lived briefly in the United Kingdom. An academic with a PhD in Victorian literature and culture, she wrote MASCULINITY AND THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS IN VICTORIAN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND FICTION. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads



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Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , , , , | Words 1130 words



You are here: Home » Series: The Agency

Behind the Book is an exclusive feature at Muggle-Born that gives readers an inside look into the editorial process of some of our favorite books. Plot changes, lost characters, and many more interesting topics are tackled in an interview with the author.

The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency, #3) by YS Lee

Did You Know?

  • The Traitor in the Tunnel was written quicker than the two previous novels
  • Mary’s name was originally Mary Lockett
  • Read on to find out more Behind the Book info about The Traitor in the Tunnel and the rest of the Agency series!

How many months did it take for you to write the original draft of THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL? How does this compare to the other Agency books?
I can’t tell you how long it takes to write a true rough draft because I tend to write simultaneous drafts – that is, I keep reworking earlier bits even as I write new sections. By the time I type “The End”, the first half of the book is semi-polished. But it took about 13 months from starting my research to submitting the ms to my editor. That was quicker than either of the first two Agency novels.

THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL released in the UK in August 2011. Can you explain to us the reasons why there is a difference in release dates?
Each title comes out first in the UK because we (my agent and I) sold World English rights to Walker Books UK, and Walker arranged for their sister company, Candlewick Press, to publish in the US & Canada. But specific release dates are set in-house. While I don’t know the specific reasons for the gap, I’m sure they’re complex.

Did any of the characters in the Agency series ever go through name changes when you first started writing?
Yes! Mary Quinn’s name was Mary Lockett, until a friend pointed out that it sounded like a homage to Sally Lockhart, Philip Pullman’s Victorian heroine. I hadn’t read the Sally Lockhart quartet at that point, but I quickly did! As great as I think they are, I needed to rename my Mary after that. And in the very first draft, James’s name was Frederick. Really.

What was the most challenging part of writing and the editorial process?
The editorial process is so straightforward, from my end. I’m lucky to be edited and proofread by extremely smart, insightful, passionate people and I love that their involvement makes the books stronger. The most challenging part of writing, for me, is when the first draft is halfway done. All the best ideas are worked out, the first flush of excitement is gone, and lots of hard work remains. Writing the second half of a book is pure discipline – until you get to the very end, of course!

Is there anything else that you could tell us about THE TRAITOR IN THE TUNNEL that we wouldn’t know unless we were part of the editorial team at Candlewick?
The number one question I get from readers is some variation on, Will James Easton be in Traitor? Will he change his mind? Will he and Mary EVER get together? I’d hate to give away too much, but James is definitely back. Also, I’m really looking forward to showing you some behind-the-scenes snapshots from the cover photo shoot! They’ll be up at my website in the next few weeks.

For more behind the book information, check out this post at Ying’s blog to read about the cover’s photo shoot!

About the Author

Y. S. Lee was born in Singapore but brought up in Canada. She also lived briefly in the United Kingdom. An academic with a PhD in Victorian literature and culture, she wrote MASCULINITY AND THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS IN VICTORIAN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND FICTION. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads



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Permalink Permalink Category Behind the Book - , , | Words 881 words



You are here: Home » Series: The Agency

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare in this spellbinding fantasy

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.
Expected Publication Date: February 7th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile

I fell in love with the trailer for Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. Plus, I’ve been in the mood lately to pick up witchy books!

Pure by Julianna Baggott

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Expected Publication Date: February 8th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing

I’ve been hearing great buzz about this one after reading great reviews. I’m still hesitant to read dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels but I’m willing to give this one a try.

Scarlet by AC Gaughen

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

Expected Publication Date: February 14th 2012 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Okay, I’m not the biggest fan of the cover. But listen to this: I’m pretty sure I read this when the manuscript had been circulating around different publishers and I had been an intern at Scholastic. I remember it being one of the few manuscripts that I had actually passed on to my supervisor. I never thought this day would happen…

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen

Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that’s just fine by her. She’s got her friends – the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She’s got her art – and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it’s hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they’re dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

Expected Publication Date: February 16th 2012 by Speak

I’ve already read this one and I absolutely loved it. Keep an eye out for my review and interview with the author, Y.S. Lee, in February! I can’t wait to get my hands on a final copy of this book.

The Traitor in the Tunnel by YS Lee

Get steeped in suspense, romance, and high Victorian intrigue as Mary goes undercover at Buckingham Palace – and learns a startling secret at the Tower of London.

Queen Victoria has a little problem: there’s a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quickwitted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary’s onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? Hoist on your waders for Mary’s most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn’t be higher – and she has everything to lose.

Expected Publication Date: February 28th 2012 by Candlewick Press

I am a huge fan of YS Lee. I’ve already read this one and I absolutely loved it. Keep an eye out for my review and interview with the author, Y.S. Lee, in February! I can’t wait to get my hands on a final copy of this book.

Meme hosted by Breaking the Spine



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Permalink Permalink Category Memes, Waiting on Wednesdays - , , , , , , , , , , , , | Words 1581 words



He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


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