Who’s Who: Book Two
So you’ve found yourself in a 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 Two then look away now!
In ‘Secret Breakers: The Power of Three’ we got to meet the members of Team Veritas. As the series continues we’ll get to meet some new members and in Book Two we meet one of my favourite characters, Sheldon Wentworth. He has his own skills and secret breaking abilities which will be vital to the team’s quest so let me tell you a little about him here.
‘So, your son, then?’ ventured Smithies, when the boy had brought the final portions of cheesy chips and pasties. ‘He’s a bit of a music fan, then?’…
…‘He’s lots of things,’ Mrs Wentworth said, balancing the tray against her hip. ‘Most of them annoying.’
‘We saw him at work next door.’
‘He ain’t working next door. He just wastes his time there when he could be helping out here and bringing in the money.’
Smithies ran his finger around the top of his beer glass, causing it to hum. ‘They suggested next door, he’s rather an exceptional boy.’
‘That’s one word for him,’ she snapped. ‘They called him gifted.’ She blurted this word as if it were the most awful of swear-words. ‘It’s a nightmare. His father cleared off and I don’t have the time to deal with him. Not with everything here. He makes a right nuisance of himself at school. Got thrown out of two of them, he has, for not doing as he’s told. Bit of a rule breaker. They put up with him next door. Gives me a break, I guess. They let him play the piano. Waste of space them great big things, if you ask me.’
(Extract from Secret Breakers Book Two ‘Orphan of the Flames.’) Show the full extract
The team meet Sheldon when they leave Station X to try and find answers to help them make sense of the musical code played by the Firebird Box. Sheldon lives in Worcester and is an amazing musician. There aren’t many instruments he can’t play and he is brilliant at the piano. He also knows lots about the composer Elgar…and Team Veritas need his help.
The team take a risk including Sheldon and he takes quite a few risks bringing them help with their code. But Sheldon is a risk taker. He’s not afraid to break rules to break the code and he has a very well developed sense of what is fair. Team Veritas are very lucky to have him!
Hunter is quick to give Sheldon a nickname. As he plays the piano so well, he calls him Fingers!
You’ll remember that half of the fun I had putting the ‘Secret Breakers’ series together was finding out about lots of real historical characters that could help me with the plot. ‘Orphan of the Flames’ draws on the true life stories of some amazing historical characters and so I shall tell you about some of them here.
Sir Edward Elgar
When Brodie writes about Elgar in her logbook she notes that he has quite a distinctive moustache! It is quite impressive isn’t it! But this style was all the fashion when Sir Edward Elgar was around! He was born in 1857 and died on 23rd February 1934 and is one of the most well known British composers who ever lived. He wrote many different pieces. One piece was called ‘the Apostles’ and another was called ‘the King Arthur Suite’. Probably one of his most famous works is the ‘Pomp and Circumstance Marches’. (If you ever watch the Last Night of the Proms on TV you will see it being played!) The title of this work is taken from the Shakespeare play, Othello. Elgar loved linking stories and music and sometimes used musical notes instead of letters when he wrote messages for other people. In 1924 he was given a very special title which is great for story making… he became ‘The Master of the King’s Musik’! Doesn’t this sound important!
Elgar was born in a little place in Worcester called Lower Broadheath. The place where he was born is now a museum dedicated to his life. He taught himself lots about music and how to play instruments by reading books. See…books really are incredible things! Elgar was very keen to continue his musical studies by going to the musical Conservatoire in Leipzig but sadly his parents couldn’t afford for him to go there. Leipzig is important to the plot of Book Two though so you should remember that!
It is said that Elgar often felt like an outsider and this idea was important to me when I included him in the plot of ‘Secret Breakers’. Team Veritas are made up of outsiders and so he would probably have felt at home with them! He often worried about whether his music was good enough and in order to relax he would go for long cycle rides across the hills near where he lived.
The Importance of Names
In the summer of 1883, Elgar became engaged to Helen Weaver but for unknown reasons they never went through with the marriage. Elgar did marry Caroline Alice Roberts and they had a daughter together, called Carice. Elgar loved codes and word play and even his daughter’s name was a piece of word play. ‘Carice’ is a contraction or shortening of Caroline Alice!
Elgar the Knight
In 1904 Elgar was made a Knight at Buckingham Palace. The following month Elgar moved to a house overlooking the River Wye. You should remember these points too…as there may be clues for Secret Breakers in these pieces of information!
Clue & Codes
Clues and codes can be found through lots of the things that Elgar wrote and composed. In fact, his codes gave me loads of ideas to explore in ‘Orphan of the Flames’. So, if you haven’t checked it out already, head over to the Secrets to Break page and find out more about Elgar’s codes!
August Jaeger was Elgar’s musical publisher. He was also one of his greatest friends. He was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1860. He spent many hours encouraging Elgar about his music and wrote him endless letters trying to help him believe in his work. Elgar often changed sections of pieces he’d written after hearing Jaeger’s response.
Jaeger was such a close friend of Elgar’s that he wrote a section of one of his most famous pieces especially for him. The ninth section of the Enigma Variations (Variation IX) is called Nimrod. Do check out the Secrets to Break page to find a fantastic video of this amazing piece of music. It will explain to you why Variation IX has the title it does so concentrate hard on that point, Secret Breakers! These little details are important!
Now we get to one of the most scary characters in the story of ‘Secret Breakers’. Brodie asks once if he was a good or a bad man and Smithies explains that you can’t really divide people into groups like that. Savonarola was an earnest man and he is most famous for organizing something called The Bonfire of the Vanities in Florence, 1497. Savonarola didn’t invent the idea of burning things in this way, but this bonfire was very, very large. Savonarola wanted to destroy anything that he thought could tempt people to do bad things. He had a whole long list of things he wanted to destroy and this included mirrors, makeup, pieces of artwork, playing cards and even musical instruments.
Savonarola believed he had messages from God but in 1498 things turned against him. He was captured and tortured and then eventually he was hung and burnt in the same square in Florence where he had held the huge bonfire of 1497.
Hans Of Aachen
Now I know you may want me to tell you more about Hans of Aachen but you’ll have to be patient! His story is very important. He’s the Orphan of the Flames after all…but if I tell you too much then I may spoil the plot of later books….so you will have to keep waiting!