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In Will Hill’s all-action YA debut Department 19 he introduced us to the titular organisation, a top-secret government operation locked in a deadly battle against supernatural forces right under the noses of the blissfully unaware British public. With the sequel Department 19: The Rising out now, here’s what you need to know about the key players in the war against the things that go bump in the night…
A naturally gifted Operator at the heart of Department 19, Jamie Carpenter is far from your average teenager. When his mother was kidnapped, he found himself pulled into a hidden world where vampires exist and the British government is out to stop them. Recruited to Department 19, he discovered that his family has long been associated with the fearless band of beastie hunters, and swiftly set about following in their footsteps. At only 17, he’s already fought some of the most feared monsters in the world, and has even managed to bag himself a girlfriend, Larissa Kinley. Not bad going, eh?
A key member of Department 19 Squad G-17, Jamie Carpenter’s girlfriend and one of the Department’s most powerful secret weapons, she’s a girl with a lot on her mind. She’s a vampire, you see – perhaps the only teen vampire from Reading there has ever been – and after being dispatched to kill Jamie in the first novel, she’s got a lot to prove. Not least that she’s able to stop herself from draining every drop of blood from her new boyfriend…
A feisty blonde who has already proved herself more than capable of kicking vampire ass, she’s a Department 19 Operator hailing from the island of Lindisfarne and the third member of Squad G-17. A key ally of Jamie and Larissa, she’s survived multiple encounters with vampires and has secrets of her own – not least a relationship with a fellow Operator that even her closest friends don’t know about.
Colonel Victor Frankenstein
It’s not often that someone generally perceived as a monster gets to be the hero, but Colonel Victor Frankenstein manages it with style. Famously created by Dr Frankenstein as part of a series of scientific experiments, the Colonel took his late creator’s name as a belated mark of respect, before setting off to make his own way in the world. He spent time with some of the most famous men and women of the twentieth century before joining Department 19 after an encounter with one of Jamie Carpenter’s ancestors. With his huge frame, uneven arms and ghoulish complexion, he’s not exactly a poster boy, but he proved his worth by saving Jamie Carpenter from a werewolf at the end of Department 19, sacrificing his own life in the process. He is technically listed as missing in action, and is remembered fondly by his comrades.