Today I have the pleasure of chatting with another character from The Tower’s Alchemist (and Dark Rift)–Ms. Jane Lewis. Though her role in the story isn’t a major one in terms of “face time,” I think she serves as an emotional core to the story, and is one of the greatest friends and supporters of our protagonist.
Q. Let’s start with a quick introduction. Who are you in the story, and what do you do?
I’m a good friend of Isabella’s (the protagonist) and I work for the Special Operations Executive–SOE.
Q. So you’re a spy.
Q. What types of missions have you been on?
I’ve mainly been to occupied France. We call it “Section F.” I have…delivered food and weapons to the Resistance, transmitted coded messages through radio broadcasts…I even helped steal weapons from the Nazis.
Q. What’s the most difficult one you’ve had to endure?
It would have to be the evening when I was waiting in a safe house for my pilot to arrive in a nearby field. Our pilots would fly these slow planes called Lysanders. They’d hold you and your pilot. My pilot landed at the nearby field by moonlight, and I had to run over there and get in before we got shot at.
Q. So Nazis were shooting at you as you tried to get into the plane?
I wish! One of their warlocks caught up to us, and he just raised his hands and sparks started forming in the air. Suddenly the entire area was in flames and he destroyed the plane–and the pilot along with it. I wasn’t certain if I’d make it out of there.
Q. How did you make it out of there?
There were eight of us in the safe house and a lot of ammunition, thank God. I think by the end of it, only three of us survived. I kept thinking to myself, “We need one of our wizards here!”
Q. So you like having wizards from the Gray Tower fight alongside you against the warlocks?
Yes, I think it’s necessary. I’ve seen individual warlocks kill a dozen people almost effortlessly. It’s mad.
Q. Have you seen a Black Wolf?
No, and I hope I never do. They’re monsters. They eat people.
Q. Your sister, Anna, was also a spy?
Yes, she…they caught her in the Netherlands.
Q. I heard she was very brave.
Sometimes they give us L-tablets to hide in the back of our mouths or in our teeth. Most of the women accept these tablets because…you know, it’s especially cruel to be a woman and captured by the enemy. If you were ever desperate, all you had to do was bite down and then you were gone. Dead. But she never took one with her. Wouldn’t hear of it. They tortured her and then put her in front of a firing squad.
Q. My condolences. Does it help that you’re retiring soon and getting married?
It does, and though I’ll miss my colleagues and the good work I’ve done, I won’t miss the job. Most SOE agents don’t last three months.
Q. Why do people call SOE the “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”?
Oh my…at first our critics said all we did was “cloak and dagger work.” They didn’t take us seriously. Now we’re Churchill’s secret army. There are men in the organization too, but I think it’s mostly women. And we blow up train tracks, fight with our hands, and shoot guns. We do anything to get the upper hand. That’s why I think they call us the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
Q. Excellent. Can I come to the wedding?