It is my third reading of the book so obviously I enjoy it. Plan to pass it along to my grandson who’s interested in World War II. I am at a younger French woman whose grandmother was in the French resistance. She was captured and killed by the Germans.
I've read some of Ken Follett's earlier novels, Key to Rebecca and Eye Of the Needle but hadn't read any of his lately. I decided to download "Jackdaws" to my Kindle and try him again. I'm glad I did as it is very apparent Ken has still "got it" as an exciting author. This is a good read, set in the days leading up to D-Day. Interesting characters and scenarios. Buy it, you'll like it.
Ken Follett is one of my favorite writers. I've read many of his historical novels and found each to be fascinating and some thrilling. The Jackdaws is now one of my favorites. The era has always interested me and although this is a work of fiction it gives the reader a sense of what life and death was like in WW2. I highly recommend this book.
My last review on a Ken Follett book was on Night Over Water, which didn't meet the expectations I have for this exceptional writer. I then went to Jackdaws, and what a book! I love reading WW II history, and this book provided insight into the Resistance movement in France. The story centers around a group of courageous women who parachuted into France on a sabotage mission behind German lines. It is woven into the historical record of Resistance fighters that were so active in France. Follett has written a thrilling story, and while obviously focused on an extraordinarily dangerous mission, skillfully blends in romance, tragedy, courage, frailty, and wanton cruelty, some of the latter so brutal it makes one shudder to think humans could do such things. Follett's description of how the Gestapo and German interrogators approached their work was chilling. Fortunately, this was counterbalanced by the personal dynamics and heroics of the six women from Britain and their French supporters. Overall, a great read.
This was my second adventure with Follet and it proved to be a wonderful one. The story line follows that of the one about the "Dirty Dozen". Only here he makes several adjustments in tone, action, and characters. First, the goal is the same to disrupt or destroy a Nazi phone exchange terminal in France just prior to the allied invasion of France. A female resistance fighter makes an attempt at this with a team of resistance fighters and they fail because of poor intelligence about the facility. Some of the men are killed, some captured and later tortured, and a few escape including the ring leader who also happens to be the husband of the female agent. The female agent returns to London with a plan on how to do the job, but it is first turned down and then later approved.
The team to do the job is selected from a variety of people and they are all women except for one who is a male cross dresser. Interestingly enough the number on the team is six, or a "half-dozen". The team trains and fights among themselves based on their various backgrounds and characteristics. Finally, the big day comes and the night before the team is given a final test where one of them fails because she disclosed the mission to a stranger who is a member of the RAF and working to check the team's ability to not disclose the mission. This member is sent packing, but appears later with a high ranking officer because she is the daughter of a high government official and the female team leader is told she has to reinstate her. The team leader says, "No" and is backed up by others in MI6.
In the mean time the Gestapo has questioned and tortured the captured resistance fighters and has learned how other members are added to the group from England and where they make contact. The local contact is captured, tortured, and replaced by a person working with the Germans who later meets agents and then hands them over to the Nazis. One of the agents that is captured has a radio and the Nazis now have the codes and radio frequencies needed to contact England's inner circle of spies working in France. As you may guess the story continues with the Nazis learning of the attempt by the resistance to damage a vital supply line. The female agents are supposed to do the job, but the real target is the telepone exchange again. There's a lot of cat and mouse play between the team leader and the Nazis which is fun to read and the Nazis do catch a few of the team members, but the team leader continues to outwit the Nazi detective at a number of turns in the later part of the story as she and her remaining team prepare to destroy the telephone exchange building and equipment.
The ending is clever and action packed. Any reader of mystery and thriller books will really enjoy the last forty or so pages. The book is an easy read and at several points hard to put down. This is one you'll want to get and read.
Loved this historical fiction book by Ken Follett. It portrayed women's role as a spy/resistance fighter in WWII. Very good thriller told from both sides of the war (German and British/French). It was one of those books that I hated to put down for long, just wanted to keep reading, really held my attention.
After the excellent book,Day of the Jackal,in which a single brave woman defeated the enemy,Ken Follett, writes another exciting story in which a group of women with a courageous female leader defeats the Germans in WWII. I just could not stop reading . These two books are my all time favorites from the author . I had read them before many years ago but, enjoyed them just as much the second time.