Post by Sophie Schiller + Giveaway of Spy Island

Please welcome Sophie Schiller to the blog today. Sophie is here to talk about her novel, Spy Island, and she has graciously offered up one copy to give away!

Guest Post: Spy Island by Sophie Schiller

Spy Island is a WWI spy thriller set on a Caribbean island replete with German spy characters, Old World Danish characters, colorful West Indian characters, blazing Luger pistols, a mad Voodoo Queen, and a brave and resourceful heroine who demonstrates how adversity can bring out the best in people.

During the height of the Great War, Abigail Maduro plunges headfirst into the dangerous world of espionage when she travels to St. Thomas, an island in the Danish West Indies, to live with her Aunt Esther, a bitter spinster, and her houseful of eccentric servants. Despite the island's veneer of tranquility, St. Thomas is a hotbed of German spies and saboteurs who use their Hamburg-America Line steamers to aid the Kaiser's war effort. To escape the confines of her aunt's house, Abigail explores the lively town of Charlotte Amalie and meets some of her more colorful residents, such as Henrik Neergaard, a sympathetic Danish judge, and Queen Coziah, the legendary leader of the coal carriers who riles the people up against the Danish government.

When Abigail stumbles into a handsome foreigner with a mysterious past, she is unwittingly drawn into the conflict. Erich Seibold claims to be a stranded sailor, but is tight-lipped about his past. In spite of the danger, Abigail agrees to shelter the scholarly foreigner in the basement of her aunt's house and friendship and love soon blossom between the unlikely pair, even after Abigail learns that Erich is really a deserter from a German U-boat.

"The minute I fired the pistol at the governor, I crossed the line from being a runaway deserter to a wanted German spy."

When the island's German Consul, Lothar Langsdorff, discovers that Erich is a deserter, he blackmails him into aiding the Kaiser's war effort by committing sabotage. In a desperate attempt to stop the Americans from annexing the Danish West Indies, Langsdorff orders Erich to shoot the governor. Gunshots ensue, and panic erupts on the once-tranquil island. When Erich is arrested, Abigail relies on her wits, bravery, and a little island magic to save her island, and the man she loves, from a nest of German spies.

About the Author

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies amid aging pirates and retired German spies. She received a degree in International Business from American University, Washington, D.C. and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently at work on a historical thriller set during the Great Game in Tibet.


To enter to win one copy of Spy Island please complete the form below. Giveaway is open internationally and ends on January 24th.

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  1. We forget, that WWI was a war, that touched all corners of the globe, hence German spies in the Caribbean. This sounds like an exciting book! I have added it to my Goodreads to be read shelf.

  2. Thanks Denise! During my research in the National Archives, I discovered that in the years leading up to the Great War, St. Thomas contained a well-entrenched, affluent, influential German colony that invested huge sums of money in their Hamburg-America Line operation, including real estate, docks, warehouses, and a coaling depot. The German captains, officers and engineers who operated the steamships were all reserves in the Kaiserliche Marine. The upper management in the steamship office were German nationals as well, maintaining close contact with Berlin via coded radio transmissions over a Telefunken wireless radio station hidden in at least one of their steamships. Other documents I uncovered showed some heated, angry confrontations between HAPAG steamers presumed to be carrying war contraband and American Customs officials on the island of Puerto Rico, confrontations that resulted in cannon fire and seizures that had been ordered from the highest levels of the State Department. This was fascinating stuff! With the help of some military consultants, I turned it into a novel to make that fascinating era come alive again.


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