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Review | The Alice Network & The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu

I had two very different experiences with these books. With one I couldn't put it down and was completely enthralled in the story while the other made me go at a slower pace in order to completely take on board the info. I should note that one's fiction and the other non-fiction, it seems I'm still hung up on my habits from uni to make sure I get all the points.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
The story goes between events during WW1 and just after WW2. In 1915 Eve is recruited to work as a spy and is sent to Nazi-occupied France. There she joins 'The Alice Network', led by Lilli who is the 'queen of spies'. The women receive intel which then gets relayed back to their superiors in the hopes of ending the war. In 1947, Charlie takes a detour and heads to England to enlist the help of Eve to find her cousin. While dealing with her own 'little problem' Charlie pushes it aside in order to discover what happened to Rose and along the way learns what Eve went through during the war.

I absolutely enjoyed this book and like I mentioned earlier couldn't put it down. I also love how it's a story about women, putting themselves in dangerous situations like Eve or being determined to get to the truth like Charlie. These two ladies come from two different backgrounds but are able to work together.

5 stars

The Book Smuggler of Timbuktu by Charlie English*
This took me quite a while to get through, it's quite heavy with information and I just found it hard to keep track. The book is split in two; it tells the events during 2012 when al-Qaeda-linked jihadists invade Timbuktu and reek havoc on the city. In order to keep its history safe a team of librarians and archivists join together to smuggle thousands of ancient manuscripts into safety. The book also goes back into the history of Timbuktu with the stories of the adventurers whose goal it was to reach the mythical city and record it. Very few survived the journey.

The myth and the history of Timbuktu was interesting to learn as well as the story of manuscript smuggling. Naturally, I got a bit angry with how the jihadists went around destroying sacred monuments which were important to the people.

3 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Harper Collins NZ

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