The Ring of Five by Eoin McNamee

My most concise summary of this book would be: Hogwarts for spies.  As this book started, I kept comparing it to the Harry Potter books because that is what I felt like the author was trying to create, just with spies instead of wizards.  Danny Caulfield ends up at a mysterious spy school called Wilsons.  The school itself seems to defy logic with corridors that seems straight yet take you to different floors and other unusual features.  The students each have unique abilities.  Danny is looked at with suspicion due to his rather unusual facial features, yet he does find a few friends among the students.  He has special talents that set him apart from the others, and set him on a course to his destiny.  There are evil forces plotting in the background, and characters at the school who may be good or bad. 

Yet for all that the story did seem to have many parallels to the Harry Potter books, it is a unique story all its own and an intriguing start to a proposed trilogy.  Spying involves treachery and betrayal.  But is that always a bad thing, especially if it is done for the right reason?  If you gain some enjoyment and pleasure from those activities, are you just a good spy or are you edging over to becoming evil?  These are some of the issues that Danny must deal with as he infiltrates the core of the enemy and must make decisions which may betray his friends and classmates.  And are his mentors at the school doing good in their own twisted way, or are they working for their own, or other, purposes?  The story comes to some resolution with enough unsolved issues to have readers looking forward to the next book in the series.


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