The Brass Compass Duology

The Brass Compass (Book 1)

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A beautiful American spy flees into the night. On her own, she must live by her wits to evade capture and make it to the safety of the Allied forces.

Lily Saint James grew up traveling the European Continent, learning languages as she went. In 1938, her mother’s abrupt death brings her back home to Washington, D.C., and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lily comes to the attention of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Her knowledge of German, French, and Italian makes her the perfect OSS Agent, and her quick thinking places her as a nanny in the household of an important German Army Colonel, where she is able to gather intelligence for the Allies. After her marketplace contact goes missing, she makes a late-night trip to her secondary contact only to find him under interrogation by the SS. When he commits suicide, she flees into the frigid winter night carrying false identification papers that are now dangerous and a mini film cartridge with vital strategic information. In order to survive, Lily must make it out of Germany, into the hands of Allied-controlled France, through a path fraught with peril.

Knowing her capture will mean torture and certain death, is she resourceful enough to make it out in time?

Awards: 2022 Speak Up and Talk Radio Firebird Book Award, Action/Adventure Category, 2018 IndieReader Discovery Award, Historical Fiction Category, 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner, Historical Event/Era Fiction Category

Next Generation Indie Book Award Winner! – First Place Historical Fiction (2023)

Operation Blackbird: A Cold War Spy Novel (Book 2)


Her mission could tip the balance of power…or spark World War III.

October, 1952. The war is over, but for CIA officer Miriam Becker, memories of the horrors she witnessed remain jagged in her mind. While vacationing in Argentina, recovering from a mission that nearly killed her, she’s seeing more ghosts from the past than the sights. When a longtime family friend and fellow operative, Jake Devlin, tracks her down, Miriam is forced to push everything to the back of her mind for the next mission: help a highly prized and heavily guarded rocket scientist defect from Soviet-controlled East Berlin—right out from under the KGB’s nose.

Well aware that one wrong move could spark World War III, Miriam, Jake, and the team plan their strategy to the last detail. But when a betrayal brings everything crashing down, Jake’s quick thinking creates the diversion to get Miriam out alive—but leaves him trapped behind the Iron Curtain. Unsure of whom she can trust, Miriam must complete the mission by relying on contacts outside of the agency, even though her heart longs to return to East Berlin to rescue the man who is the last link  to her troubled past … before the KGB gets to him first.

“The presence of a strong female lead adds a feather to the astounding hat that this novel dons.” – InD’tale Magazine

“Author Butler knows her stuff…” – Historical Novel Society Review

“…thrilling and cinematic, with tension that will have readers eagerly turning the pages to see what comes next.” – Manhattan Book Review

“A deftly crafted and fully reader engaging novel with many an unexpected plot twist and turn, “Operational Blackbird” by Ellen Butler will have a special appeal to readers with an interest in Cold War era spy novels.” – Midwest Book Review

Awards: 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Award, First Place Historical Fiction, 2023 Adventure Writers Competition finalist, 2023 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist for Historical Fiction

Read the first chapter click HERE!