Blog Tour! Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti #Spyonhistory

10 Feb


Welcome to my stop on the #Spyonhistory Blog Tour! I hope you enjoy my post – I really enjoyed this book!!

9780761187394Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring
Written by Enigma Alberti
Illustrated by Tony Cliff
96 pages – ages 9+
Published by Workman Publishing Company on December 13, 2016

Synopsis from the Publisher- Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers—Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary Bowser’s suspenseful story—how she pretended to be illiterate, how she masterfully evaded detection, how she used her photographic memory to “copy” critical documents.

Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope inside the book, a canny reader will be able to discover and unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations, and solve the book’s ultimate mystery: Where did Mary hide her secret diary?

What I Thought- This was a really cool book! It tells the story of Mary Bowser, an amazingly brave and super cunning lady who deserves to have her story told. The book is an excellent choice to highlight during Black History month here in the USA. The book has cool black-and-white (with red accents!) illustrations spread throughout it.


I also really like how the words sometimes jump around the page. There is a folder in the front containing a shift cipher, a red plastic screen, a page from a book, and a piece of paper with holes cut into it – all supplied to help the reader solve the mystery. That’s just plain awesome! I really like how you have to find the clues in the text and illustrations. The story itself is wonderfully satisfying, and I really enjoyed learning about the history behind Ms. Bowser. It is really interesting to hear about the Civil War from the Confederate side (even if it was to help the Union) – it gives you another perspective. Enigma Alberti refers to the pen name of a group of authors who are writing this series. They promise to tell the stories of even more spies from history. I can’t wait for the rest of the books in the series to come out!



Want to learn more?

Author: Enigma Alberti is the nom de plume of a secret cadre of authors who are each writing a book in the Spy on History series.

Illustrator: Tony Cliff is the author and artist behind the New York Times bestselling Delilah Dirk graphic novel series. Find more on Tony at and @TangoCharlie on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 1: Middle Grade Mafia
Thursday, February 2: YAYOMG
Friday, February 3: Mundie Kids
Monday, February 6: Miss Print
Tuesday, February 7: Recreational Scholar
Wednesday, February 8: The Roarbots
Thursday, February 9: Randomly Reading
Friday, February 10: A History of Books & This Kid Reviews Books
Monday, February 13: Teen Library Toolbox
Tuesday, February 14: Ex Libris Kate
Wednesday, February 15: Geo Librarian
Thursday, February 16: Kidliterati
Friday, February 17: Kristi’s Book Nook

Book Available at:
Barnes & Noble

Social Media:
Twitter – @workmanpub
Facebook – @workmanpublishing
Instagram – @workmanpub
Pinterest – @workmanpub
Tumblr – @workmanpublishing

13 Responses to “Blog Tour! Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti #Spyonhistory”

  1. writersideup February 10, 2017 at 8:44 am #

    The illustrations look stunning, Erik, and the story sounds SO compelling! Happy to know of it 😀 Thank you!


    • ThisKidReviewsBooks February 25, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

      It’s a great story. I love books like this that spotlight key figures in history – that you don’t really hear about. 🙂


  2. julie rowan zoch February 10, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    This looks intriguing! Thanks, Erik.


  3. Stephanie@Fairday's Blog February 10, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    Okay- I have to read this one. Thanks for putting it on my radar! I know I will enjoy it and my students will too. 🙂


  4. Patricia Tilton February 10, 2017 at 10:52 am #

    Your enthusiasm sells this book! It sounds like a very intriguing read about real life history. Tweens will love a book about spies in history and learn something too.


  5. jama February 10, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    This book does sound cool! You made me want to learn more about Mary Bowser.


    • ThisKidReviewsBooks February 25, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

      Honestly, I wish you good luck. The thing the author mentioned in her author’s note is that they only know that Mary existed because of her being mentioned in the journal of another person. She says that is why she made up the dialogue and some of the tinier details for the story.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ThisKidReviewsBooks February 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

        Or he. Whoops. I have no idea what gender the author is. If I recall correctly, Alberti is the pseudonym of a collection of authors (like Erin Hunter), so I can’t really say.


  6. Sue Morris @ KidLitReviews February 15, 2017 at 11:55 pm #

    Erik, what a great idea for a book on a spy. I was too busy to accept this for review and now I am so jealous. I want to read this book. There are simply to many books published each month to read even just the good ones, let alone the great ones. (If you go to Ohio State University, oh sorry, *The* Ohio State University, we could exchange books.)


    • ThisKidReviewsBooks February 25, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

      I guess I won’t say how great of a book it was, then. 😉 Exchanging books would be fun! 🙂


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