Book Nook: Agent 355

Written by Marie Benedict and released last summer, Agent 355 is a revolutionary war era tale that is essentially a What if Pride and Prejudice was a spycraft story, in short story form.

An Audible original, narrated by Emily Ranking, Agent 355 follows the story of Elizabeth Morris, an angsty teen with the misfortune of being born to British loyalist. This does not sit well with her and she does something about it. And that something is taking advantage of the fact men of that era did not take women’s intellect seriously and exploit that fact to become a spy.

It is a quick story, at just 2 hours, 7 minutes in real time (I tend to listen at faster speeds). It mixes societal commentary in the Jane Austen manner, complete with a quick, even if underdeveloped love story with some historical fiction and nonfiction alike.

Robert Townsend, George Washington’s Culper Ring spy games. They all existed. And there is a fun little historical payoff near the end when you piece together who the target culprit is.

As for Ms. Morris. She is fictional, but if you listen to the author’s note, quite possibly not entirely.

This isn’t a must run to read book, but it was free on Audible and worth the less than two-hour investment. Made for a good treadmill companion for a few sessions.

Benedict is a best-selling author who had also written historical fiction books The Only Woman in the Room and Lady Clementine. Strong, important female characters are her thing.


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