Orphan of the Flames
Details & Summary
Team Veritas have discovered a new code. A music box playing a tune by Elgar leads them to the Dorabella Cipher...an unread message written by this famous composer. Will deciphering this unbroken code lead them to more information about the most mysterious manuscript in the world, or will Level Five of the Black Chamber stop them in their quest for truth?
At the end of ‘The Power of Three’, Level Five of the Black Chamber wanted to drive Team Veritas away from Station X. They failed. With help from Fabyan, (an American billionaire) and Brodie’s Granddad, the Team find a way to stay on. In the case of Mr Bray this proves to be a very good thing indeed. ‘Orphan of the Flames’ does not begin well for him and he ends up joining Team Veritas living at Bletchley.
His own secret breaking skills shouldn’t be underestimated. Don’t forget he was a code-cracker at Bletchley during the Second World War and his skills with languages come in very handy in Book Two. But Team Veritas would be lost in this adventure if it wasn’t for their new member Sheldon Wentworth. His secret breaking skill relies on his understanding of music and you can find out more about him on the Who’s Who in Book Two page. ‘Orphan of the Flames’ sees Team Veritas increase in size...and good job too because the codes are getting harder and they need all the help they can get!
In Book One we were introduced to the idea of Station X, a secret intercept radio station used in World War Two which was given the code name X as it was the tenth station and X is the Roman Numeral for ten. Book Two explores the reality that there were lots of secret locations used in the war, and Team Veritas make very good use of Station IX in the story of ‘Orphan of the Flames’.
About an hour’s drive north of London is a mansion called The Frythe. It was used as a secret British Special Operations Executive factory to make weapons and equipment during World War Two. After the war, The Frythe was used as a private research facility, run first by Unilever and then later by GlaxoSmithKline. On 19th December 2010 the site was closed and sold to a developer but when I started writing ‘Orphan of the Flames’ the site was empty and abandoned. This made it a perfect place for Team Veritas to hide out when they are on the run from Level Five.
The Dorabella Cipher
The story of ‘Orphan of the Flames’ depends on the ability of Team Veritas to crack another code. When I was planning the series, I knew I’d need to deal with lots of real un-cracked codes and ciphers and The Dorabella Cipher is one of the most fascinating. You must check it out! Take a look at the Secrets to Break page to find out more and, if you are feeling up to it, have a go at the Secret Breakers challenge set at the end of the page. Before you know it, all Secret Breakers will be writing in Dorabellaese!
Also, have a close look at the artwork on the front of Book Two. Did you notice the shape of the graffiti on the wall?
While we are talking about artwork, I am very grateful to the team who put the British covers of ‘Secret Breakers’ together. Richard Collingridge is a fabulous artist. You should check out his other artwork here at his site. Also take a look at how the picture he did looked without the other book details. Isn’t it stunning?
Codes hidden in the story
Now we are onto Book Two, I hope that your own Secret Breaking skills are being fully developed! You should have noticed a few secret messages hidden in the copies of Book One and Two. Of course, if I told you where they were then that would be cheating....but I do hope you have been on the look-out. Secret Breakers really need to look with care at everything! If your secret breaking skills need refreshing then check out the Code and Cipher Lessons page to make sure you are up to the task!
Once again the Team spend time at Station X in Book Two, but they do have to make several journeys away from the mansion to find the answers they need.
I’ll give you a quick tour the major location they visit...but remember, if you haven’t read all of ‘Orphan of the Flames’ you may not want to know yet so should probably check back here when you’ve finished. But if you’re ready, let’s take the ‘Orphan of the Flames’ virtual tour!
Strange but True!
One of the most exciting things about writing the ‘Secret Breakers’ series has been discovering links, patterns and connections in my research. Here are five very interesting and true facts that are important to the plot of Book Two.
There really was a Dick Whittington!
I know...it seems strange, but the guy from the pantomime really existed and he plays a crucial part in the ‘Secret Breakers’ plot. He really was Lord Mayor of London...in fact he did this job four times. He was also an MP and the Sheriff of London. He was very involved in doing good deeds for the poor and some of his money was used to rebuild the Guildhall in London and Newgate Gaol.
Number eighty eight is a really important number!
Hunter loves the number connections in Book Two and so do I. The Dorabella Cipher has 88 characters, there are 88 keys on a piano and NGC 88 is a spiral galaxy in the Phoenix constellation. Connecting with the number 88 helps Team Veritas make sense of the code! I wonder if there are other important 88s? If you find any, then let me know!
The Lord Mayor’s Show really does have giants in it!
Team Veritas do not choose a good day to race across London. They arrive in the middle of the Lord Mayor’s Show which is held every year in London and dates back to 1535. It’s a bit like a carnival and begins at the Guildhall. According to tradition, the giants Gog and Magog are the guardians of the city of London. Wicker statues of them are paraded through the streets as part of the procession. Check out this video to see them in action!
The statues at the City of London School have important information for Secret Breakers
Here is a picture of the statue that Team Veritas are desperate to track down in the City of London School. It shows Henry Carpenter holding the book called the ‘Liber Albus’.
On the front of the Victoria Embankment building of the school are five other statues. They are of Shakespeare, Milton, Bacon, Newton and Sir Thomas More. As we continue the Secret Breakers adventure some of these names may become more and more important!
The Royal Albert Hall London was a great place to set a chase scene!
I have great fun planning scenes set in real places and a world famous concert hall full of people seemed a fabulous place to have Level Five tracking down Team Veritas. I was especially pleased I got to have the chase run through the Elgar Restaurant which really is part of the building. So much of the fun of writing comes from being able to see the real locations in my head. It’s like I can see the story as if it’s a film and I hope using real places helps readers see it like a film too!
If you want to check out a really exciting real venue used for a scene at the end of ‘Orphan of the Flames’ then follow the link now for the Albert Hall!