Cut out by Jack Heath

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760111984
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Adventure, Spies, War. With all all the razzle dazzle of James Bond and the swashbuckling heroics of Errol Flynn, this story will grab readers, following Fero from minor demonstrator in a far from democratic country, to arrest and imprisonment. Mistaken for a super spy from their rival neighbouring country and treated as such until someone from a secretive department tells them that that person is already in jail, Fero's plight will intrigue readers. From there fourteen year old Fero is recruited and hurriedly trained to go to enemy territory and bring back one of their own, about to be revealed as a double agent. He is the only one who knows how to get into a disused hospital, the place now under the control of terrorist threatening to blow it up along with most of the city. Breathless excitement will keep readers hooked, as Fero fights dangerous thugs, dodges bullets, rides a motorbike over the heavily guarded and booby trapped border fence and evades land mines. But once in the hospital, things heat up as he must take incredible risks to fight off the gang filling the disused train beneath the hospital with bombs.
But in going over the border he comes to realise that conditions there are not what he has been led to believe, and begins in a small way, to question his own regime. Intersecting layers of story, humour and many unexpected twists will keep people reading and wait eagerly for the second episode due out in 2016.
Fran Knight