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Jackdaws Paperback – December 5, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (December 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451219597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451219596
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (399 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Time is running out. With D-Day rapidly approaching, the Nazis are actively trying to quash the French resistance. Meanwhile, Britain's Special Operations branch is working hard to supply the resistance with intelligence, supplies and agents. Felicity "Flick" Clairet is one of England's most effective operatives in northern France. Having failed in an assault on the Nazis' main European telephone exchange, she regroups in England for another attempt, this time with an all-female team that will infiltrate the exchange under the guise of a French cleaning staff. Unfortunately, finding female agents fluent in French proves impossible and Flick resorts to crash-training nonprofessionals for the task. Imagine Charlie's Angels (minus the campiness) in The Guns of Navarone. Written in Follett's (Pillars of the Earth, etc.) riveting style and with his penchant for historical detail, the Jackdaws (the codename of the all-girl team) are given a heightened air of authenticity with Kate Reading's performance. She flavors her confident delivery with a wry cynicism that is inherent to Flick's character, and her use of international as well as regional accents keeps the rapid narrative flowing flawlessly. Simultaneous release with the Dutton hardcover (Forecasts, Oct. 15, 2001).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, will be published in Autumn 2007. He has since written several equally successful novels including, most recently, WHITEOUT. He is also the author of non-fiction bestseller ON WINGS OF EAGLES. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Customer Reviews

Flick is the main character in this book.
jkey_69
I could not put this book down once I started reading it.
Thomas Waring
This story was very well written and easy reading.
Charles A. Reap Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 116 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on December 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
One of the earliest books in this genre that I read was the, "Eye Of The Needle". The author has since ranged widely amongst a variety of subjects, however with, "Jackdaws", Mr. Follett returns to World War II just prior to the Invasion Of Normandy. And like his previous efforts with this historical setting it is very well done, and will bring fond memories to those readers who were waiting for him to turn his pen once again to this theme.
The book is a substantial work offering readers well over 400 pages of taught writing that unfolds over a little more than a week prior to D-Day. Like all books of this event it contains heroes, however they play against the background here, as a heroine takes charge of the story as well as the events in the book. The book begins with a notation that states that 50 women worked as secret agents in France for The Special Executive during the war. The book never seems to reach the moniker of historical fiction, although comments at the end strongly insinuate there was a real woman who, at the very least provided the inspiration for the heroine, "Flick". The women who volunteered to serve behind enemy lines in occupied France, and repeatedly traveled back and forth across The Channel during the war were clearly remarkable women, and were as fearless as any of their male counterparts.
This novel is a bit scattered in its tone. The changes in the mood of the book work well as a whole, however they can seem a bit jarring and out of place as the book is read. If very graphic descriptions of the most brutal interrogation of both men and women are an issue, several areas of this book will be troublesome to read. I don't feel the length to which Mr.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Gary Griffiths VINE VOICE on May 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "Jackdaws", Ken Follett returns to the form of "Eye of the Needle" and "The Key to Rebecca", spinning a tale that if a bit melodramic and not quite believable, is still entertaining and well worth the time. "Jackdaws" is reportedly based (very loosely, one would assume) on the true story of female allied spies operating in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. It "stars" Felicia 'Flick' Clairet, a British agent married to a French resistance fighter. As with many of Follett's novels, the sub plot of a love affair is woven into the story line, likely to insure additional appeal for broader audience, as well as the attraction for a possible screen play. Follett at his best is a master story teller, and he is in top form with "Jackdaws". He crafts a suspense that is palpable and engrossing, set with just enough history to establish some credibility. But while the plot and story development are superb, the same level of depth falls short in the character development. The characters appear to come straight from central casting: the brave but irreverent hero/spy, the sadistic Nazi officer, a female crew of ally agents reminiscent of "The Dirty Dozen". On balance, a good book for the beach or a long plane trip: mindless entertainment that will neither make you think nor disappoint.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Greg Maxwell on January 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have just read my first, but definitely not last Ken Follett novel. I received Jackdaws as a Christmas present. What a present it turned it out to be!
Jackdaws, based on a true story, needs to be made into a blockbuster movie. It tells the story of how people thrust into dire situations can do amazing things. Felicity Clairet, aka Flick, is a strong main character, operating behind enemy lines in occupied France. On her trail is Dieter Franck, Gestapo agent. What ensues is one of the best cat- and- mouse chases I personally have ever read in modern fiction.
During the entirety of the book, I kept saying to myself, This is a master at work! There were several interesting supporting characters. At times you need a card to keep track of these characters, but they are thoroughly believable and well written.
This is easily one of my all-time favorite books. Think of The Fugitive during Nazi WWII occupied France and you are getting the idea of just how impressive this novel is!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Larry VINE VOICE on February 25, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The jackdaw is a bird and, in this case, the code name of a group of six female British spies in WWII. They are assigned the daunting task of infiltrating a French chateau that serves as the communications center of the Nazis. Their mission is to destroy the communications of the Nazi northern European theatre on the eve of the D Day invasion thereby wreaking havoc in the Nazi defensive coordinations. Flick Clairet is the leader of this intrepid bunch and must deal with, not only the risk of the mission, but also the cattiness of her team. On the opposite side is Dieter Franck, a Nazi intelligence officer assigned by Rommel to thwart the efforts of the French resistance. He manages to stumble upon the mission of the Jackdaws. Franck is also a highly effective, yet ruthless, interrogator and with a team of sadistic Gestapo agents, obtains his information about the group. It quickly becomes a cat and mouse game to see if the British agents succeed.
Ken Follet has returned, once again, to the arena that made his reputation-- WWII spy intrigue. He has, by doing so, written one of his finest works and may be one of the best WWII spy novels in many years in terms of sheer thrills, rapid fire pacing and truly fun characters. Follett alternates the point of view between Flick and Dieter Franck so we always know what the other side is doing. This technique also serves to develop a sense of sympathy for both sides. Even though we know Dieter represents true evil, we also come to understand that ultimately he has a job to do and must do it at all costs even if he must make a pact with the devil. In spite of the horrors around him, he is a man with moral principals who justifies his actions by claiming he derives no enjoyment in the torture he must use to obtain his information.
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