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Jackdaws Hardcover – December 1, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 2,583 ratings

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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

From Publishers Weekly

Returning to the WWII setting of the novels that made him famous, Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca, Follett (Code to Zero) delivers a very entertaining, very cinematic thriller about a ragtag, all-female band of British agents, code-named Jackdaws, sent to blow up a key telephone exchange in France on the eve of D-Day. Well, not quite all female: one "woman" recruited for the job by heroine Felicity Clairet, aka Flick, a major with the British Special Operations Executive, is a transvestite and that's just one among many twists that make this novel such fun. Opposed to Flick and her team are two Nazi villains whose escape from central casting doesn't keep them from playing their parts with zest: suave and urbane Maj. Dieter Franck, a master of psychological and physical torture, charged with breaking the Resistance in northern France, and Sturmbannfuhrer Willi Weber, brutal guardian of the chateau that houses the telephone exchange. The action runs over 10 days. After a failed assault by the Resistance on the chateau, an assault that introduces the novel's key players, Flick returns to England, racing the clock to recruit a team of women who can infiltrate the chateau by posing as its French domestics; among her selections are an imprisoned murderess, an aristocrat and that transvestite. The English scenes are interesting enough but lack suspense, which Follett supplies in spades by cutting to France, where Major Franck tracks Resistance members and gets wind of Flick's mission which, when at last underway, will enthrall readers. Adventure, romance, derring-do and a bit too much nasty violence crowd the pages of what promises to be one of Follett's most popular novels ever. Major ad/promo; simultaneous abridged and unabridged audio from Penguin Audio.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product details

  • Publisher : Dutton; First Edition (December 1, 2001)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 451 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0525946284
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0525946281
  • Item Weight : 1.68 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.77 x 9.28 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,583 ratings

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Birdy
4.0 out of 5 stars Scarey women
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story based on actual events
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4.0 out of 5 stars All in all a gripping story
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great escapist fiction
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