Jackdaws

Follett, Ken

Published by Penguin Books, 2006
ISBN 10: 0451219597 / ISBN 13: 9780451219596
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Synopsis: In his own bestselling tradition of Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca, Ken Follett delivers a breathtaking novel of suspense set in the most dangerous days of World War II. Look out for Ken's newest book, A Column of Fire, available now.

D-Day is approaching. They don’t know where or when, but the Germans know it’ll be soon, and for Felicity “Flick” Clariet, the stakes have never been higher. A senior agent in the ranks of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) responsible for sabotage, Flick has survived to become one of Britain’s most effective operatives in Northern France. She knows that the Germans’ ability to thwart the Allied attack depends upon their lines of communications, and in the days before the invasion no target is of greater strategic importance than the largest telephone exchange in Europe.

But when Flick and her Resistance-leader husband try a direct, head-on assault that goes horribly wrong, her world turns upside down. Her group destroyed, her husband missing, her superiors unsure of her, her own confidence badly shaken, she has one last chance at the target, but the challenge, once daunting, is now near impossible. The new plan requires an all-woman team, none of them professionals, to be assembled and trained within days. Code-named the Jackdaws, they will attempt to infiltrate the exchange under the noses of the Germans—but the Germans are waiting for them now and have plans of their own. There are secrets Flick does not know—secrets within the German ranks, secrets among her hastily recruited team, secrets among those she trusts the most. And as the hours tick down to the point of no return, most daunting of all, there are secrets within herself. . . . 

Filled with the powerful storytelling, unforgettable characters, and authentic detail that have become his hallmarks, Jackdaws is Ken Follett writing at the height of his powers.

Review: Penzler Pick, November 2001: Each book by Ken Follett, one of the most successful suspense writers of our time, is a welcome event. With Jackdaws, he returns to his most successful era, the darkest days of World War II.

It is 1944 and the Allies are preparing for the invasion of Europe. In the occupied town of Sainte-Cecile, the French Resistance is preparing to blow up the chateau that now houses the crucial telephone exchange connecting the French telephone system to that of Germany. Bombers have been unable to inflict enough damage on the chateau to disrupt communications for more than a few hours at a time, but the Allies need to make sure that communications is down for longer so that there will be as little warning of the invasion as possible.

Felicity Clariet, known as Flick, is a British secret agent patrolling the streets around the chateau waiting for the first explosions that will give the signal for the attack to begin. She is married to Michel, a Resistance fighter. When the operation goes horribly wrong, they barely escape with their lives and Flick returns to her home in London--but not for long. When Flick returns to France it will be as part of an audacious, quickly assembled plan to put female spies in the chateau as telephone operators and cleaners, enabling the Allies to destroy the ability of the Exchange to warn Germany in advance of the landing on the beaches of Normandy. The twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Follett tells us that Jackdaws is based on a true story. The Special Operations Executive sent 50 women into France as secret agents. Thirty-six survived. --Otto Penzler

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Title: Jackdaws
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 2006
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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