The remote marshland villagers did not want them, but if their mission failed, the Allies could lose the war!The summer of 1943 and Jack Ross, a talented young recruit to the British special forces, was flown into a marshland village near St-Omer, France, along with Roland Keene, an Irish-American volunteer to the British forces. Their mission was to find out how successful the Allied bombing raids had been on the massive V2 flying bomb installations, which had been built under a giant concrete dome near St-Omer. The Nazi V2 project could have had a devastating effect on England and changed the future of the war. Jack and Roland joined with the local Resistance cell and quickly established a good working relationship. But incidents occur that point to a mole in the ranks. Two feuding brothers, one in the Resistance, the other with the Partisans, make identifying the traitor almost impossible. Jack’s primary source of information was Sofia, a young girl who was one of the most active members of the group. She was brave, smart and tireless, and Jack found himself falling in love. Twenty years later, in 1965, and one of the suspects decides to go back to the village to clear his name. His arrival immediately triggers a murder. Two investigative journalists agreed to help Jack tackle the job of finding the real mole but find themselves in a battle with a group of fanatical Nazi sympathizers.
I would like to stress that this review is just one man's opinion. Of the 28 reviews on Amazon UK at the present time, 19 give this 5 STARS, 7 @ 4 STARS, 1 @ 3 and 1 @ 2. What floats one man's boat, might have another running screaming off into the hills. We all experience books differently and just because this one didn't work for me, doesn't mean you won't enjoy it.
It's a dual timeline mystery set in wartime France in the 40s and then the mid-60s as unresolved issues with the Resistance and possible betrayal come back to the fore with the return of an exiled villager to the scene of the crime.
I really wanted to like this one a lot more than I actually did. The story had potential and the war time scenes in the village under Nazi occupation were tense and quite thought provoking, particularly in respect of individual and small group opposition, leading to wider reprisals on the whole of the village in a bid to divide, conquer, deflate morale and ensure total subservience to the occupying regime.
Several of the characters were well-drawn and interesting and their bravery and fortitude was admirable. The idea of betrayal and an insider working for the Nazis gave the story some focus. Sofia, the young Resistance fighter and Jack, the British special forces man dropped behind the lines were the main focus, both in the 40s and the 60s with their romance and subsequent marriage adding to the story without ever going into full-blown Mills and Boon mode.
The war time drama concerns itself with feeding back information to the allies in advance of the as yet unconfirmed invasion and trying to ensure the German capabilities to thwart such an effort are known and countered. A mole in the Resistance results in death and loss of life. The narrative twenty years after features murder and efforts to unveil the guilty party amid rumour and suspicion.
An over reliance on conversation and dialogue unfortunately detracted from it in my opinion. There was just too much of it, as every little outing and meeting seemed to be detailed in the narrative and for me it just didn't work..... thoughts, ideas, to-ing and fro-ing, bike rides, canal trips, dodges round the back of houses, messages, etc etc. The story just seemed to stall and any excitement was bled out of it. Long before the end I was struggling and any enthusiasm I might have had at the beginning was quickly banished.
Shame really, much shorter and tighter would in my opinion have improved the book no end. Half the length could have resulted in twice the book.
2 from 5
Read - September, 2020
Published - 2020
Page count - 484
Source - review copy from author
Format - paperback