Who's Who Book Four
So you’ve found yourself in yet another section of the site where there’ll be spoilers… so if you don’t want to know about some of the characters you’ll meet in Book Four then look away now!
In ‘The Power of Three’ we got to meet the members of Team Veritas. In ‘Orphan of the Flames’ we met a new team member - Sheldon Wentworth. There aren’t any new team members in ‘The Knights of Neustria’ but we do get to know Fabyan rather better as he comes to stay with the team more permanently in Book Three. In Tower of the Winds you’d better get ready to meet a new member of Team Veritas who certainly makes quite an impression on Station X.
It was odd how an angel of death transforming into a leather-clad biker didn’t at once make Brodie feel safer.…
…The biker brought destruction. He’d broken into the team’s home and he reached now for a long, thin black box and held it up in the air.
He was reaching for a gun. He’d broken into Bletchley to kill them. Sent by Level Five to stop them breaking the code of the ancient manuscript they’d worked so hard to understand. Brodie knew she should kneel down and surrender but she stood perfectly still.
If he took her away, she wouldn’t give up the battle to read what the government had banned them from trying to read. She’d find a way to reach the others – re-form the team. They’d tried too hard for too long to give up easily. The leather-clad biker could take away her freedom but he’d never take away her desire to find the truth.
The biker clutched the box against him, but didn’t open it. Instead, he shook the shards of glass from his shoulders and put the box on the ground. Then he reached up and removed his helmet.
Brodie tried, then, to make sense of what she saw.
The biker was a woman. Long wavy hair tumbled untidily across her shoulders. She was twenty at the oldest, her face freckled and blushing. She staggered awkwardly then steadied herself before speaking. ‘Really sorry about that, everyone. I’m new to this biking game and I can’t begin to apologise enough for the mess I’ve made.’
(Extract from Secret Breakers Book Three ‘Tower of the Winds.’) Show the full extract
Kitty causes chaos at Station X! That’s why Hunter gives her the nickname ‘Chaos’! Sheldon is keen for her to stay as he knows her from his life back home - Kitty was a waitress in The Plough pub where his Mum was the manager. You’ll remember that the pub was right next door to Elgar’s Birthplace Museum which was so important to us in ‘Orphan of the Flames’. In fact, Kitty brings some extra information from Elgar to the team at Station X. This is one of the reasons Tandi is so keen to let Kitty stay.
The team make room for her. She’s older than the other teenagers and she doesn’t necessarily have an obvious secret breaking skill. But she’s good at saying things that other people don’t and she’s very keen to fit in.
The last time we saw Kitty she was wearing an apron! It doesn’t seem that interesting…but trust me…careful readers might find this very intriguing!
So by now you should be wondering about whether I included details about any more real historical characters in this fourth installment of the ‘Secret Breakers’ adventure. Well here’s the part of the site where I share the pieces of fact that really are stranger than fiction!
The Cambridge Apostles
This was a secret organization formed in the 1820s at Cambridge University. The group met weekly to discuss all sorts of issues and poetry, including the writing of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Secret Breakers will have heard his name before!
The Apostles held a weekly vote about a topic of interest. The records of these meetings were kept inside an old leather book called ‘The Ark’. Because of its name, the group could only ever have 12 members at any one time. Potential members were called ‘Embryos’ and they were invited to parties to see if they were suitable future members. These ‘Embryos’ didn’t know they were being considered! Once members graduated from University they had to leave the group and they were known then as ‘Angels’.
Lots of famous people were members of the group, including Charles Darwin’s brother. At least one past member was also part of something called ‘The Cambridge Five’ spy ring. The public learnt about this group in the early 1950s when they discovered that some Cambridge graduates had been passing state secrets from Britain’s government to the KGB (the security agency in the USSR).
Brodie made some notes on the Cambridge Apostles. Here’s her logbook page.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
One of the most famous members of the Cambridge Apostles was the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. He was born in 1809 and became the British Poet Laureate. I have mentioned before that I love Tennyson’s poetry and I was thrilled to make a link between him and this real secret organization.
The Lady of Shallot
Tennyson wrote many well-loved poems. He was fascinated with myth and legend. His blank verse poem ‘Idylls of the King’ is beautiful. It’s a very long poem all about King Arthur. It was one of the poems I read when I was first thinking about writing Secret Breakers. Another beautiful poem he wrote is called ‘The Lady of Shallot’ and it’s about a woman who looks at the world through a mirror. Check out the Secrets to Break Page to see why this became important in the story of ‘Tower of the Winds’.
The Lotos Eaters
A third important piece of work by Tennyson (because you know I believe in the power of three!) was called ‘The Lotos Eaters’. This poem describes life on an unusual island. The writing was set to music by Elgar and this connection meant I could link two Knights of Neustria in the story!
Shakespeare and Scheemakers
Now you already know that Shakespeare is important to the Secret Breakers and their search for clues. We’ve come across his work before in the adventures, and of course careful readers of ‘The Knights of Neustria’ will have worked out he had more to tell us. In ‘Tower of the Winds’, his message is shared through two huge sculptures. Check out the Secrets to Break Page to find details about these monuments in London, England. The writing on the second sculpture in Leicester Square fits really well with the theme of Secrets Breakers. The writing on the scroll Shakespeare holds says, ‘there is no darkness but ignorance’. This takes us nicely back to the opening of Secret Breakers Book One, where Brodie learns that ‘light is knowledge.’
One of the Shakespeare monuments was sculpted by Peter Scheemakers. This sculpture was so famous it was pictured on the back of British £20 notes between 1970 and 1973. Isn’t it incredible to realise that another Knight of Neustria was also on the back of British £20 notes? Edward Elgar was on notes from 1999 and these £20 have just stopped being legal tender. Maybe there’s a connection between the other famous people on the back of bank notes! Perhaps more of them are Knights of Neustria!
Anyway, Peter Scheemakers (16 January 1691 – 12 September 1781) was a Flemish sculptor. He travelled lots and some records say that after working in Denmark, he walked to Rome! After this time in Italy, he spent a long time in London, England. As well as being responsible for fifteen sculptures in Westminster Abbey, he did a lot of work for the Anson family based at Shugborough Hall.
Lord Anson and the Covodonga
The Anson family owned Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire. George Anson was made First Lord of the Admiralty in 1751. He actually managed to sail all around the world. We call this voyage circumnavigation. He wasn’t the first person to lead a journey like this and careful secret breakers might like to think about other sailors who managed this incredible journey several centuries ago!
Anson got most of the money he used to improve and extend Shugborough Hall by capturing a Spanish Treasure ship called the Nuestra Señora de Covadonga. There was an incredible amount of treasure aboard this ship! Again, careful secret breakers should keep this ship in mind as the adventure continues! Check over Brodie’s notes from her logbook.
When Anson wasn’t off sailing, I imagine he had lots of servants based at Shugborough Hall. It might be a good idea to look carefully at the names of the servants included in the story.
Lord Anson had to be extremely careful when sailing. There were all sorts of dangers at sea. In fact many people who sailed with him did not return. Again, you might want to think about other famous journeys of circumnavigation where many lives were lost at sea. Sometimes the numbers returning from huge fleets of ships were very, very small!
One way of helping to prevent disaster was to ensure that ships did not run aground on dangerous rocks. Lighthouses could help with this. One rather famous builder of a lighthouse was Mad Jack Fuller. He was responsible for Fuller’s Follies which you can read more about here.
Mad Jack Fuller
John Fuller (20 February 1757 – 11 April 1834) was better known as "Mad Jack" Fuller (although he liked to be called "Honest John" Fuller). He was Squire of the hamlet of Brightling, in Sussex (now East Sussex). Fuller became a member of the British Parliament and so would have spent time in London. He was very generous and often gave away money for scientific research.
When he was young, he asked a young lady called Susannah to be his wife, but she turned him down. Broken-hearted, he never did marry and never had any children. His unusual follies ensure his name lives on though, so make sure you do check them out.
Knights of Neustria and a journey over seas
Many of the real characters in this story are connected by a Tower of the Winds. A Tower of Light also connects the characters at the end of the story. I imagine Team Veritas looking out to sea and wondering where their search for new Knights of Neustria will take them now. You can be assured they are about to begin an incredible journey across the oceans. You’ll be excited to know that the time to leave England has finally come and that there will be many interesting new characters to learn about in the next stage of the adventure.