Golden Gate (City Spies #2)

Golden Gate (City Spies #2)
Age Range
Release Date
March 09, 2021
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In this second installment in the New York Times bestselling series from Edgar Award winner James Ponti, the young group of spies returns for another international adventure perfect for fans of Spy School and Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls.

After thwarting a notorious villain at an eco-summit in Paris, the City Spies are gearing up for their next mission. Operating out of a base in Scotland, this secret team of young agents working for the British Secret Intelligence Service’s MI6 division have honed their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

Fourteen-year-old Sydney is a surfer and a rebel from Bondi Beach, Australia. She’s also a field ops specialist for the City Spies. Sydney is excited to learn that she’ll be going undercover on the marine research vessel the Sylvia Earle. But things don’t go exactly as planned, and while Sydney does find herself in the spotlight, it’s not in the way she was hoping.

Meanwhile, there’s been some new intel regarding a potential mole within the organization, offering the spies a lead that takes them to San Francisco, California. But as they investigate a spy who died at the Botanical Gardens, they discover that they are also being investigated. And soon, they’re caught up in an exciting adventure filled with rogue missions and double agents!

This mission is hot! The City Spies are a go!

Editor review

1 review
You'll leave your heart with the City Spies
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
After a mission aboard a ship that ends with Sydney blowing things up and Brooklyn saving the daughters of a British MP and a far-down-the-list heir to the throne, the City Spies regroup at the Farm, and Mother finally shares the secret that he and Brooklyn have been investigating. His wife, Clementine, supposedly was a double agent in league with the evil group Umbra, and has taken their two children with her. On the last mission, she gave Brooklyn a flash drive that had a picture of the children on it, but Mother could not even start to crack the mystery. Luckily, when Rio finds out, she is able to figure out enough to get the group started on an investigation, which they do without MI6's knowledge. A key figure is bird watcher and spy Parker Rutledge, and when Brooklyn has to testify about the hostage situation on the ship, the City Spies head to London. They explore different avenues of investigation, including going to Oxford with Monty and breaking into the Bodleian library with the help of a don who is also a mystery writer and has come up with SEVERAL different ways to do this! Once they manage to get Rutledge's birding notebooks, the group works to figure out what he was investigating. They head to San Francisco to purse leads there, while Mother heads to Australia to try to find his children. Will there be satisfactory outcomes to both missions?
Good Points
Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax in Middle School. That's the phrase that comes to mind when I think about this series. Of course, the venerable lady spy wouldn't have been on her own if she were 12; she would need friends and teachers, and that's what City Spies provides brilliantly. It's a tricky move to have so many main characters, but I was very impressed with the way these are handled. Brooklyn and Sydney have a more major role, but Kat, Rio, and Paris all have decent supporting roles. Monty and Mother are excellent characters as well. The way that all of these characters interact is realistic and well done, and underpins all of the adventure and derring-do nicely. The travel, especially right now, was fantastic. Rural Scotland. The high seas. London. Oxford. San Francisco. Redwood forests. The details of all of these places are woven in seamlessly, and is such fun. Breaking into the Bodleian library after reciting their iconic pledge? Wow. The mysteries are also well-developed, and I loved that the two main ones (Mother's children's location and the death of the former spy, Rutledge) are connected.

Seamless is really the best description of this book. Anything you could want in a mystery is present, and all elements are intricately arranged so everything just falls together. This felt not only like Gilman's work, but was very reminiscent of Anthony Horowitz's The Word is Murder and The Magpie Murders. I have to say that I am looking forward to another book in the series, but that deep down, I really want Ponti to come up with a middle grade spy or sleuth and write books in the vein of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot-- books that are technically in a series but can be read independently. I can't wait to see what the next adventure will be!
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