A wartime romance, survival saga and murder mystery set in rural France during the First World War, from the bestselling author of 'Operation Mincemeat' and 'Agent Zig-Zag'. Four young British soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines at the height of the fighting on the Western front in August 1914; unable to get back to their units, they shelter in the tiny French village of Villeret. Living in daily fear of capture and execution, they are fed, clothed and protected by the villagers including the local matriarch, Madame Dessenne, the baker and his wife. The self-styled leader of the band of fugitives, Private Robert Digby, falls in love with the twenty-year-old-daughter of one of his protectors and in November 1915, with war waging a few miles away, she gives birth to a baby girl. The child is just six months old when someone betrays the men to the Germans. They are captured, tried as spies and summarily condemned to death. Using the testimonies of the daughter, the villagers, detailed town hall records and most movingly -- the soldiers' last letters -- Ben Macintyre reconstructs an extraordinarily story of love, duplicity and shame -- ultimately seeking to discover through decades of village rumour the answer to the question, 'Who betrayed Private Digby and his men?' In this new updated edition the mystery of who betrayed them is finally revealed.
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Ben Macintyre is a columnist and Associate Editor on The Times. He has worked as the newspaper's correspondent in New York, Paris and Washington. He is the author of Agent Zigzag, which was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Tesco Biography of the Year at the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards. He lives in London with his wife and three children.From AudioFile:
WWI is ancient history to most of us, but MacIntyre and Wade bring us back to those times in this sensitive true story. In 1914-1916 British soldier Robert Digby hides out from the Germans in a small French town, falls in love, and ultimately is betrayed and executed. At a contemporary ceremony in Digby's honor, an elderly woman reveals that she is the soldier's daughter. MacIntyre then taps the village's collective memory and any other material he can find to tell Digby's story. Michael Wade's voice is pleasant to listen to, and his French pronunciation is delicious. He doesn't inhabit the characters; rather, he reports what he's learned, including his own guess as to the identity of the betrayer. Another Clipper winner. J.B.G. © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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