Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

by Anne Blankman


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Acclaimed author Anne Blankman returns to the shadowy and dangerous world of 1930s Germany in this thrilling sequel to Prisoner of Night and Fog, perfect for fans of Code Name Verity.

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler's inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives in England, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen's world turns upside down. When she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she'd escaped—and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel's name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time—or will Hitler discover them first?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062278845
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 439,214
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile: HL790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Anne Blankman is the acclaimed author of Prisoner of Night and Fog, which received a starred review and a Flying Start from Publishers Weekly. When Anne was twelve, she read Anne Frank's diary and has been haunted by World War II ever since. The idea for Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke came to her after she read about a real-life unsolved street assassination from January 1933, which was the inspiration for Monika Junge's murder. To research this book, she studied a wide range of sources, including biographies, memoirs, social histories, psychological profiles, old maps, photographs, and video footage.

Anne lives in southeastern Virginia with her husband, Mike, her young daughter, Kirsten, and, of course, lots and lots of books.

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Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
My appetite for young adult World War II-era fiction was sharpened when I was introduced to a wonderful book by Elizabeth Wein and I've been on the lookout for more ever since that one. The first book by Anne Blankman, Prisoner of Night and Fog, captured my attention in a very good way and I was really excited when I heard about this sequel, Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke. While I don't think it has quite the intensity of Prisoner, it still kept me engrossed till the very end. The years leading up to war are uncomfortable everywhere but Gretchen and Daniel really do think they have found a haven of peace in England and so, in a fashion, they have. Away from Uncle Dolf, Gretchen has a chance at a happy life and Daniel is a large part of that. Chance, though, has an ugly way of wreaking havoc and Daniel soon finds that he has no choice but to return to Germany, having no idea, of course, that he is about to be in even graver damage than he expected. Gretchen and Daniel are an interesting pair. At times, they seem oblivious to the dangers facing them at nearly every turn but, at the same time, they have a certain gravity about them. Most teens in earlier generations must have been less frivolous than we see so frequently today for a lot of reasons including shorter life expectancy, poorer health, more manual labor and so on. In 1933, we have to add in a growing awareness that bad things might be happening in Germany, fueled by the devastating effects of the Great Depression. Hitler rose to power in part because of the need Germans had to rise above their massive discontent and only a few were able to see past his charisma to the nascent evil behind the facade. That Ms. Blankman has given her characters the opportunity to understand what was happening is powerful but I'm glad she also lets these teens make mistakes and fail to grasp the horror that was coming in just a few years. Very few did so I would not have believed it if Gretchen and Daniel had too much foresight. The murder and the race to exonerate Daniel work as good reasons to get the kids back in Germany but it's the rise of the Nazi Party and all that entails that provides the real story here. It's one we should never forget and authors like Ms. Blankman who create such entertaining tales that focus on historic truth help us hold on to that knowledge. Along with such weighty issues, though, I relish keeping company with Gretchen and Daniel and am looking forward to the next book.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Oh, the things we do for love. Gretchen doesn’t think twice when she decides to return to Germany to help Daniel who has suddenly returned there to seek out the individuals’ responsibility for his cousin’s death. She was ready to put Germany behind her and move forward in her life but this sudden turn of events has everything she hoped for on pause, for now. This twist wouldn’t be so dramatic if: it wasn’t March of 1933, if Hitler wasn’t trying to gain power, if Gretchen wasn’t Hitler’s former pet and she hadn’t just escaped from under his strict restraints, if Gretchen’s face wasn’t publicly known and if Hitler rise to power wasn’t causing havoc among the citizens right now. It’s not long before the two are united and Daniel informs Gretchen about his cousin. Things are never simple as word gets out the Daniel is back and he’s blamed for a murder. Being a reporter, Daniel wants to investigate the murder so he can clear his name. Traveling together, the book picks up speed and there’s talk of the Ringvereine, the Enabling Act and the National Socialists. It is believed by some, that the National Socialists are causing chaos and blaming or planting evidence on other individuals/groups to help their cause. The Ringvereine, they reminded me of a band of people who come together to stop corrupt activities. Not all they do is legal but they have a common enemy and they are a united group. The time table in this book is the Enabling Act, as Daniel and Gretchen want to get their tasks completed before this Act becomes a reality. This is the second book in the series and I thought the first book was much better. The first half of this book did not capture my attention and I really had a hard time staying awake reading it. There seemed to be a lot of words without a lot of action or adventure being played out. In the second half of the book, the main characters took a more active role and their journey had more to offer than what I struggled with in the beginning of the novel.
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
This dualogy completely took me by surprise! I haven't had the opportunity to read a lot of historical fiction lately, so I was so glad I stumbled across these books! There are certain time periods that just fascinate me and this is one of them. The fact that we get to see Germany pre-Hitler's rise to dictatorship was something I'd never really known much about, so I was completely immersed in these books. Blankman has done her research and we really get to see that in her Author's Note. She has done such a great job of creating a fictional story among such a difficult time period where there is so much sadness and grief, so I applaud her for handling Daniel and Gretchen's story with such poise and beauty. I adore Daniel and Gretchen. They have to be one of my favorite new YA couples. They have had such a difficult journey and as you can see, it's not over yet. There were times where my heart felt absolutely broken for these two and I felt such despair for them and their situation. They love each other so much so to see them struggle over an uncertain future was absolutely gut-wrenching. I didn't like seeing them distance themselves from one another, but I loved seeing how much they would sacrifice for the others' happiness and well-being. That's true love right there. I didn't quite love this one as much as the first book, but I still really liked it. We got to see a different side of what was going on in Germany, what with the Ringvereine and the criminal underworld. We do get to see a few familiar faces from the last book though and I have to say a few ended up surprising me. I want to keep this review short, as I definitely don't want to spoil this book for anyone. All I can say is that I thought this dualogy was awesome. Blankman has really done an incredible job with it and I can't wait to read what's next from her. I hope you take the time to read these and fall in love with Gretchen and Daniel just as I have.
PaperTurtless More than 1 year ago
I loved it
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman Book Two of the Prisoner of Night and Fog series Publisher: Balzer + Bray Publication Date: April 21, 2015 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from Edelweiss Summary (from Goodreads): The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content. But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland. Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first? What I Liked: I liked this one, but unfortunately for me, I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped, as much as I'd liked Prisoner of Night and Fog. I wasn't really feeling the first half of the book, and while things definitely picked up in the second half of the book, I didn't love what was happening. Nevertheless, I thought this book was a decent sequel, and I'll most like be reading the third novel in the series. This novel starts with Gretchen - now Gretchen Whitestone - living in England, with a gentleman Alfred and his family. They treat her like she's their daughter, despite being with them for only seventeen months, from Germany. Daniel works in England at a newspaper (or post, or something like that), but he's miserable. He's always wanted to go back to Berlin, even though he can't. But when he gets word that a relative, Aaron, has been killed, Daniel goes back to Germany - and naturally, Gretchen is right behind him. But Daniel is a wanted man in Germany, framed for the murder of a young prostitute girl. Together, Gretchen and Daniel hunt down evidence to clear Daniel's name, but it's not so easy with conspiracies and raids ans Nazis left and right. The first half was entirely too slow for me, and to be honest, I found the plot to be a bit forced. Obviously, the author needs some sort of push, a plot twist, in order to send Gretchen and Daniel back to Germany. It's a legitimate push, but I thought it felt a bit forced. Historically speaking, it made sense, and could very well have happened, but like I said - forced. The second half was a product of the first half and its forcefulness, but it seemed to retain some of the high stakes, heart-pounding thrill that Prisoner of Night and Fog had. In the first half, Daniel and Gretchen return to Germany, and they're on the run, because Daniel is a wanted man. They find the house that the prostitute had been staying at, and attempt to find the girl's belongings. But they're caught, and a gang takes them. But the gang is apparently a ring of men looking for justice (or something), and keep Daniel and Gretchen on the hunt for the prostitute's things, to clear Daniel's name. There is also a connection with Hitler and several of the officials under his thumb.  I found that whole thing (with the rather nice gang) to be completely unbelievable and unrealistic, but that's just me. More on that later. The second half picked up a bit, and there was plenty of action and thrill. There were so many times when Gretchen and Daniel were separated, and I couldn't turn pages quickly enough. Gretchen does indeed have to face Hitler again, whether she likes it or not. The romance is in the background, and I liked it, especially for a sequel novel. Gretchen and Daniel are not a perfect couple, and are often plagued with insecurities about the future. Daniel hates living in England, but Gretchen doesn't want to live in Germany. Both cannot live without the other, but both are not comfortable in one place or the other. The romance was one thing that solidly worked for me in this book. Overall, I liked this book, but I didn't love it. This historical time period greatly frightens me, and sometimes I wonder if I should have ever picked this series up to begin with. But I'm glad I did. I can't wait to see how Blankman wraps things up! What I Did Not Like: As mentioned above, I didn't like the first half of the book. It was boring, it was slow, it didn't seem right to me. The plot points seemed forced, like something was literally being shoved into the story in order to move it along. We know Gretchen and Daniel have to find their way back in Germany somehow, but I wasn't entirely convinced by how it was done. I also was not believing the part after Daniel and Gretchen get caught in Fraulein Fleischer's office, in which an Iron First ring or something takes Gretchen and Daniel, and spares them. The ring allows them to continue looking for the real murderer of the prostitute. Neither Daniel nor Gretchen are hurt in this whole process. I find this hard to believe, even if the gang had a political motive. Somehow, it was too lucky and too convenient. There were times when Gretchen bothered me so much. There are specific instances that I want to name, but that would be spoiling things, and I don't want to do that. But, there were other times when I was really cheering for Gretchen. This book is written in third person limited (to Gretchen), so it's not always clear what Gretchen is thinking. Sometimes, I wanted to slap her and tell her to get a hold of herself. She panics a lot, and there is no room for panic in war. There is a lot less of Hitler in this book, which is to be expected, since Gretchen isn't living around him anymore. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. I personally wanted to see more of him in this book, because he's creepy and an strangely interesting character, but that's just me. He is present at the climax of the book, making a short appearance. In any case. There were things I disliked, there were things I liked. This one gets a solid three stars. Would I Recommend It: If you enjoyed the first book, definitely read this sequel! It's an adequate sequel, certainly not the worst sequel possible. If you haven't read the first book, perhaps wait until the third book is published. Or skip the series. It's a powerful series, but not one for everyone, that's for sure. I don't generally like historical fiction of the twentieth century, but this series is okay! Rating: 3 stars. Not enough for me to dislike the book, but not enough for me to sing its praises. I'll be reading the third book (hopefully), to know how it all goes down! I'm very familiar with this time period in history, so I'm curious as to how Blankman will end this series, especially in terms of the historical connection.
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) This was an enjoyable sequel, and I didn’t expect the murder mystery aspect. I liked Gretchen and Daniel in this book, they were both self-sacrificing both for each other and for the greater good, and they never lost sight of what was important. They really were a bit of a Romeo and Juliet though! The storyline in this was pretty good, and I didn’t expect the murder-mystery storyline. It did make sense as the reason why Gretchen and Daniel both felt the need to go back to Germany, and back into danger though. There was some romance between Gretchen and Daniel as expected, but it wasn’t all plain sailing at all, and there were several moments when it was questionable as to whether or not they would actually make it through. I can’t really say anything about the historical accuracy of the book, although it’s clear from the Author’s note at the end that she knows way, way more about all this stuff than I do! I will happily admit to being pretty useless when it comes to both history and geography, give me maths and science ten times over every time. The ending to this was the most interesting part for me, because what actually happened to Hitler and Germany is of course already written as it actually happened. I did think the ending was good though, and I liked the way things were wrapped up with Gretchen and Daniel too. 7 out of 10