Secret Breakers: The Power of Three is the first instalment of a fantastic code-breaking adventure series for age 9+, with real codes, real mysteries and real danger.
Imagine the chance to solve the Voynich Manuscript – a puzzle that has truly defeated adults for centuries. It’s an ancient manuscript no one has ever been able to decipher. And there are Rules that say it is forbidden to even try to solve it.
But Brodie Bray likes a challenge, and when she receives a coded message through the post her life changes for ever. She’s chosen for a secret team working at World War II code breaking base, Bletchley Park to crack this most complicated code in the world and uncover the secret it hides. Together with her new friends, Brodie must break the rules to break the code, at every turn facing terrible danger. For someone is watching them – and will even kill to stop them.
For the author, H.L. Dennis, code breaking has been ‘a fifteen year adventure’…
I got the idea for ‘Secret Breakers’ one rainy afternoon many, many years ago. I read an article about the most mysterious manuscript in the world. MS 408 is the name given to the manuscript found exactly a century ago by a man called Wilfred Voynich. He discovered the book hidden in a trunk in a castle in Northern Italy. Initially, the manuscript didn’t seem that unusual. It was only when he looked closer that he discovered that the book was written entirely in code.
Of course people have tried for years to break the code of MS 408. Code breakers based at Bletchley Park during World War II tried in 1944, as did other British and American teams at Bletchley in 1962 and 1963. Everyone has failed. And that got me thinking. I began to wonder what type of person would be up to the challenge of making sense of a book that had baffled the minds of some of the greatest problem solvers who ever lived!
Having been a teacher for nearly two decades I began to think about how some of the children I taught might approach the problem of trying to solve the mysteries hidden by the code in MS 408. I began to think that children might look at the manuscript differently. They might approach the problem from another angle. They might look in a different way to break the secret. And that’s when the idea of ‘Secret Breakers’ was finally born.
Codes literally make my heart race. The idea of being able to discover a secret that no one else might know about…the chance to make sense out of nonsense…the opportunity to look for hidden meaning and to share the thoughts of the creator of the code, thrills me. Working with codes is an adventure…a voyage, every time, into a world of the unknown.
As a teacher nothing is more exciting for me than seeing a child break the code of a story. Stories empower and that is why I wanted my stories to be about everyday children who simply use their ability to ask questions and to see things from a different angle in order to be heroes.
The story arc for Secret Breakers began to take shape properly in 2005 but it incorporated many of the ideas I’d been researching and exploring for the previous nine years. I have been working on this story ever since and every single day I write is exciting…so it’s really been a 15 year adventure!”
In the spirit of things, we’ve got a code all of our own for you or your kids to try and crack. The winners will receive one of five family passes to Bletchley Park, so click here, follow the link and see how you get on!