Millions of people will die in the war, Ellie. And it's our job to make sure it happens. That's why our work isn't easy.


And if that's not ominous, I don't know what is.


It's been two years since Ellie's last adventure in the spirit world or talked to her friend, the ghost of Edward Fitzberranger. She has tried to do what Viewpoint asked her to do and live a normal, boring, human life. Mum is still working for the Journeyback historical re-enactment company but it looks as though her job won't last much longer. Money is tight and Mum, as ever, is stressed. Dad got compensation for his accident, so he is living the life of Riley. He's eager to help out but Mum won't hear of it. And Ellie has a romantic interest in Luke. All in all, things could be better but they could also be worse. No more spirits. No more corrupting of timelines.


But then Leon shows up with Miss Harvey's brooch. And Journeyback sends Mum back to Inchwood Manor, where Ellie first met Edward. And before she can do anything to stop it, Ellie finds herself transported back to the 1930s. Edward VIII has just become king, is at the height of his affair with Wallis Simpson, and is flirting with the Nazi ideology. Ellie soon discovers a spirit world plot to impersonate the king and change the course of history. To fight it, she will need to work with some very unexpected allies...


... and where is Edward?


Rob Keeley's Spirit sequence continues apace in this fourth instalment. Ellie has grown up a little bit since we last saw her. She's at the start of a tentative and fledgling romance with a boy called Luke and although she misses Edward, the naughty but entertaining ghost, she's doing her best to stick to the Viewpoint command to do nothing more to pollute the timeline. But once she is propelled back into the past, she becomes the Ellie we know and love - the Ellie that has courage and commitment and the Ellie who will always work for the greater good.


The plot hinges on a spirit world attempt to impersonate Edward VIII and thereby ensure an alliance with Nazi Germany and prevent WWII. Clearly, this is an affront to the timeline beyond anything Ellie has dealt with before and will have devastating consequences. Can she - and her new allies in Viewpoint - avert such a disaster? As ever, the action is quicksmart and pacy and sets Ellie's innate commonsense against fantastical enemies. I missed Edward Fitzberranger a little bit as he only has a bit part to play in High Spirits but I enjoyed the introduction of some new characters and I'm sure he'll have an important part to play going forward.


There's plenty to enjoy here - a pacy adventure, a central character put into extraordinary circumstances, time paradoxes to unravel, and evil villains who lose battles but persist with the war. Rob Keeley is continuing with his winning formula and middle grade readers will eat it up.


The Bookbag