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Code Name Hélène  By  cover art

Code Name Hélène

By: Ariel Lawhon
Narrated by: Barrie Kreinik, Peter Ganim
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Publisher's summary

"This fully animated portrait of Nancy Wake...will fascinate readers of World War II history and thrill fans of fierce, brash, independent women, alike." (Lisa Wingate, number one New York Times best-selling author of Before We Were Yours)

Based on the thrilling real-life story of socialite spy Nancy Wake, comes the newest feat of historical fiction from the New York Times best-selling author of I Was Anastasia, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII.

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice, and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.

It is 1936, and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

As Lucienne Carlier, Nancy smuggles people and documents across the border. Her success and her remarkable ability to evade capture earns her the nickname "The White Mouse" from the Gestapo. With a five million-franc bounty on her head, Nancy is forced to escape France and leave Henri behind. When she enters training with the Special Operations Executives in Britain, her new comrades are instructed to call her Hélène. And finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly Madam Andrée, where she claims her place as one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, armed with her ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and the ability to summon weapons straight from the Allied Forces.

But no one can protect Nancy if the enemy finds out these four women are one and the same, and the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed she - and the people she loves - become.

©2020 Ariel Lawhon (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"A compulsively readable account of a little-known yet extraordinary historical figure - Lawhon's best book to date." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Magnificent. . . Lawhon carries us into the heart of the French resistance [and] into the mind of a badass heroine with uncanny instincts who takes on the Nazis and men’s arrogant sexism with uncommon bravado. . . Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake’s accomplishments will hold readers in its grip.” (Booklist, starred)

“A spellbinding work of historical fiction. . . [and] one of the most sensual romance novels you’ve ever read. . . She is real, this really did happen is the mantra you may find yourself repeating, in awe of every page.” (Bookpage, starred)