A summer vacation, a spy tortoise and a great adventure – Kerstin Rottland’s Agathe Bond novel

Kerstin Rottland – Agathe Bond: Cool wie das Wasser im Pool
Did you know there is a whole secret world of tortoises that run a spy organization – me neither. But in the deep sees of children’s novel it shouldn’ t really be a surprise. The German author Kerstin Rottland tells a wonderful story that I throroughly enjoyed and recommend. However, the story as far as I know is not yet published in English.

The story

Agathe Bond (that’s the protagonist and yes she is the tortoise and female) is on a mission to catch one of the most notorious gangster tortoises, when one of her gadgets malfuntion at a  critical moment. Thankfully, she is stranded in a human tortoise sanctuary, but someone wanted her dead. With the help of a human boy, she flees the compound and searches for the person responsible for the failed assassination attempt.

The characters

Agathe Bond seems rather on the nose but in combination with some stereotypical themes of the spy genre, it not only seems but is on the nose for the knowledgable reader. Yet she is a wonderful quirky, zynical, grumpy old tortoise I think especially the more mature reader (did not wanna say old here) will enjoy. Jürgen (the human protagonist) is a charming yet slightly shy and unfortunate fellow with rather unique family and view on them. The mix works wonderful.

Kerstin Rottland’s writing

So far I have enjoyed Rottland’s dive into the spy world. The tropes and themes are familiar yet applied for the young reader. More mature readers get their entertainment value out of the story and especially the witty tortoise. She makes the story fun, entertaining, with a morale, taking the reader by the hand without being didactic or lecturing. Still, I wonder: Do children already get the Bond reference from the title? Is Bond a synonym for spy that even children unfamiliar with the canon know what it means or are they learning through these stories? Well, I digress: another topic for another blog post.

All in all, this is a fun and entertaining read for young an old. 

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