Like many others, I will miss this series, and am slightly disappointed that it ended in the way that it did. Please note, this review contains spoilers!
In Scorched Earth we follow Henderson and his agents as they attempt to stop a Nazi battalion reaching the beaches of France so the allies can land in France safely. At the beginning of the book Henderson and his agents are all hiding out in the woods near Beauvois with many resistance fighters. Rosie however is working under the cover of a nun at the orphanage where Marc grew up, while Marc is living on the farm with his girlfriend Jae. However within the first few chapters of the book we see Rosie killed, which leads to a revenge attack on Rosie’s killer later in the book by PT, Marc and Paul.
Upon receiving orders from the UK to stop the 108th Battalion, Henderson splits his agents (and the resistance group) into 2, Team A – Henderson’s group (including Paul, and Joel), and Team B – PT’s group (including Edith, Luc and Marc). However before even leaving the woods where they have been sheltering, both teams come under heavy fire and Team A loses 4 members before they even begin their mission. Team A’s mission is to get ahead of the 108th battalion to destroy a tank refuelling station, while Team B (who escapes the woods without loss) has the job of trailing the 108th convoy to take out support vehicles and “stragglers”.
Henderson’s team reaches the fuel stop attempting to destroy it, however in the process Henderson’s team gets ripped apart, Joel and Paul are taken hostage while Henderson manages to escape. Team B however manages to steal a German truck, along with a detailed map of the route the tanks are taking, which gives them the advantage of being able to get ahead of the tanks and destroy bridges along the tank’s route. Marc and Luc successfully take out a bridge which stops the 108th from advancing. But in the process their German truck is spotted by allies and they are attacked.
Eventually both teams make it to Paris where they take shelter in an apartment. When it becomes clear that Paris is under siege the French resistance begin attacking the Germans. When the resistance groups begin to give up hope that the allies are arriving Henderson and his team decide to ride back out to Beauvois, yet on the way they come across the allies, who retake Paris, and the beginning of the end of WW2 begins.
This is where we leave the book. Seeing Marc marrying Jae, Paul and Edith getting together, PT getting charged for the crimes he committed at the start of the series, Henderson getting killed by his wife…
It was nice that in the Epilogue of the book we get to see what happens to the characters after CHERUB ended after the end of WW2, and then how it began again forming the CHERUB we know from Robert Muchamore’s other series. As much as Luc irritated me through all the books I was somewhat saddened to see his “post-CHERUB” story.
All in all this was a good book, it was full of action, and the story kept moving at a quick pace, however I don’t think it lives up to Muchamore’s other books that he has written, nor does the ending really do the Henderson’s Boys series justice. OK yes the war ended and therefore the child agents were no longer needed, but what happened directly after the end of the book? It is a gap that I would have liked to have seen filled in a better way apart from just the main characters general life stories in the epilogue of the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Henderson’s Boys series, and it is a must read for anyone who loves the CHERUB books, but also is a good read for anyone who enjoys history!