The Long Man

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9781553953067: The Long Man



Much has been written about World War Two and the events leading up to its onset in September, 1939, but the characters featured in The Long Man are so diversified they offer five entirely different aspects of similar events during that time. As well, an intriguing tale is interwoven with historic fact.

The fear of detection is a constant companion to Janine Parke, an experienced agent and civilian pilot working for British Intelligence. She is torn between her loyalty to England and her native France when Nazi occupation threatens both countries. Of her clandestine operations, she can tell no one.

Claude Simone, a Parisian Jew, has partnered Janine for some years, and poses as an Englishman named Ben Boniface in the village of Long Bottom (fictitious) where they both live--he, renting a room at Mallory Cottage and she, residing with her husband, son, and daughter on their estate named Flint House. Claude is coerced into becoming a double agent by a German named Beatrix Dierick in order to guarantee his parents' safety in Paris. While normally intolerant of children, he nonetheless becomes fond of Kate Hawkins, a ten-year-old who has been evacuated from London to Mallory Cottage and who has an extraordinary talent for drawing. He is extremely concerned when she sketches a good likeness of Dierick. Of his clandestine operations, he can tell no one.

Yvonne Parke, Janine's daughter and also an experienced pilot, is ferrying operational aircraft for Air Transport Auxiliary when she is approached by members of the Free French in London to carry out a mission for them in France. Prior to her involvement with the Free French and due to an arrangement made by Ben Boniface, she takes the family's river boat to Dunkirk in order to rescue entrapped British and French soldiers from the beaches there. But of her clandestine operations, she can tell no one.

David, Yvonne's brother, is shot down and badly burned during the Battle of Britain. During the long months of treatment, Kate sends him amusing letters and drawings which are greatly instrumental in promoting his recovery. With weakened hands he is unable to return to a fighter squadron but instead joins a Special Operations squadron involved in the delivery and retrieval of British agents in France. Of these duties, he can tell no one.

Kate's youthful misconceptions offer innocent humour, yet her unusual involvement with the Parke family creates the link that draws the five characters and the network of the plot together. As well, the reader will experience the often concealed terror of a child suffering through the duration of a dreadful war.

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About the Author:

Since The Long Man incorporates some of this author's personal childhood experiences in England during World War Two, the fictional accounts offered in the novel ring true. In the late 'forties and early 'fifties, when Europe and the Middle East were still struggling to their war-torn feet, she travelled extensively through these regions working for a British airline and thereby conceived the idea for her first novel, The Faldetta.

America beckoned in 1956 and, still associated with the civil aviation industry, she moved to New York. Later she married and lived some years in Asia and Europe but now makes her home in the temperate climate and extraordinarily beautiful scenery of Northwest America.

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