16 May 2013

Excerpt Thursday: Spy Island by Sophie Schiller

This week, we're welcoming author Sophie Schiller with her latest title, The Spy Island. Join us on Sunday, when the author will offer a free copy of the book to a lucky blog visitor. Here's the blurb:

At the height of the Great War, Abby Maduro is an adventurous orphan who saves the life of a stranded sailor who has washed ashore on her Caribbean island. In spite of the danger and consequences she faces, Abby shelters Erich Seibold in the basement of her house and friendship and love blossom between the unlikely pair. In time, Abby learns that the erudite stranger is a deserter from a German U-boat. When the island's German Consul, Lothar Langsdorff, also discovers Erich's true identity, he blackmails him into joining his spy ring by committing sabotage and murder. After a tumult involving the Danish governor, Erich is hunted down and thrown into prison, forcing Abigail to risk everything to save him. But with Langsdorff and his spy ring still on the loose, Abigail relies on wits, bravery and a little island magic to save her tranquil island from a dangerous German spy. Spy Island is a historical spy thriller for the adventure-lover in you. Prepare to be carried away to an exotic tropical island with its potent mixture of action, suspense, romance, and delightful island characters who will cast their spell over you. 

**An Excerpt from Spy Island**

In this scene, Erich has been arrested and Abby infiltrates the prison in order to carry out her escape plan.

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."
Erich's eyes go wide as he assesses the uniform. Then he tears off his clothing and pulls on the uniform with a ferocity I have never seen. First the jacket, carefully fastening all the buttons as he mutters, "This is the craziest thing I've ever heard." Next he switches trousers, almost stumbling over from exasperation. He smooths back his hair, tops it off with the cap and lowers it until it almost conceals his eyes.
By now, Erich's forehead is sweating profusely. "If they catch me, they'll shoot me. You realize that, don't you?"
"Shhh!" I caution. "He's coming back."
 My knees quiver uncontrollably as I hear the policeman’s footsteps approaching. I glance over at Erich. Though his knuckles are white and his face is drained of color, his disguise is perfect. He's virtually indistinguishable from any other gendarme. He presses me against the wall with his left arm while he holds his right index finger to his lips, motioning for me to be quiet. I nod and we both fall silent. The policeman's whistles reverberate off the thick walls, blending in with the banter of the grooms and the splashing of the water.  When it feels as though the noise can't get any louder, I hold my breath. Next to me, I feel Erich's muscles tensing, waiting for the moment to strike.

Learn more about author Sophie Schiller:

Sophie Schiller Blog: http://sophieschiller.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @SophieSchiller