A book review by the CE.
A WW2 Historical thriller – Resistance in the Marshlands
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 sympathisers.
Investigating war crimes can be dangerous business. Jack Ross goes back to the place where he was dropped during the height of WW II. The year is 1965 and he is assisting Steve, an investigative journalist and his wife Emily to write an account of the area during Nazi occupation in 1943. Working on the story becomes fraught with danger as the story develops.
Retrospectively I have often wondered what the world would have been like if the Nazis had prevailed. This book paints a picture of grudges that develop even within families during a war. Do you side with the occupiers who have your country under marshal law or fight in a resistance that tries to overthrow your occupiers? During such conflicts there will always be winners and losers.
During times of war, food is always hard to get. Helping the enemy may provide some food or other assistance that otherwise would be unavailable. Occupied France was no exception. Jack Ross is parachuted behind enemy lines to find the location of V-2 rocket launch sites and get that information back to the British. His mother was French and his father English and his spoken French sounds like a native.
Sofia is a young teenage girl who can get around the occupied area on a bicycle. She is almost invisible and therefore able to gather information. Jack joins the resistance and she becomes very helpful in obtaining updates on the location of the launch facilities and also a production factory. Every day is fraught with danger as the British start bombing the facility and begin to suspect a mole is giving secret information to the enemy.
The Audomorais Marshes in France are poorly defended and the Nazi troops are spread thin. However, who is actually loyal to whom? As the invasion nears and the attacks on the rocket facility increase, the Nazis look for the leak. Brothers with a long running feud are highlighted. One of the brothers is grabbed and executed by the Nazis. His contact was Jacks’ wife Sophie. Suddenly she becomes a target for the German occupiers.
Who is the mole who identified Sophie and thereby Jack? The invasion is about two months away and suddenly they must go underground. Later in 1965 they are trying to solve the riddle of who the mole might have been. Anyone harboring allied pilots or servicemen are summarily shot upon identification and capture.
The list of suspects included the local butcher, the parish priest and the feuding brother. Unraveling the answer is an integral part of this well-developed novel. One of the suspects is found hanging in a tree and danger is rampant, even in 1965! I found the book keeping me up nights with my search for the answer. History buffs and WW II aficionados will find this read compelling. My only quibble was that the thread between the war and 1965 was at times scattered and elusive. 4/5 stars CE Williams
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
Genre: Historical Thrillers, Historical British Fiction, Military Thrillers
Print Length: 251 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2020
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: The Night Drop [Amazon]
The Author: My passion for writing goes back to a Christmas present I received when I was seven years old. It was a John Bull printing outfit that inspired me to produce a newspaper for my family to read. By the time I finished the first edition, several weeks had passed, and the stories were long-forgotten events.
I was encouraged at school by my English teacher, and he suggested that I should write a newsletter about school activities. It was handwritten and pinned to the notice board. The encouraging words he wrote on my school report then enabled me to get of job in the publicity department of a large engineering company. This introduced me to the luxury of the typewriter, which I still think is an amazing invention.
As the years went by, I happily wrote anything that I was given; brochure copy, advertisements, press releases, speeches for other people, scripts for industrial films, videos, and copy for websites. In 1988 I started my own media company, which I ran until retiring a few years ago.
My only venture into fiction was in my early twenties writing teen romance stories for Jackie magazine. It was just a part-time addition to my real work, but it taught me how to build characters in as few words as possible and how enjoyable writing fiction can be. I always promised myself that when I had the time, I would return to fiction again. Just over two years ago, I started on my first novel, Murders of Consequence, which was followed by Murders of Necessity and Murders of Misfortune. They are all available in eBook and paperback on Amazon.
All three books are set in the nineteen-sixties when the UK was going through a significant transformation of social outlook. Young people were making their views known in fashion, music, attitudes, and public protests about the many different causes that concerned them. The reasons were not frivolous; all they were asking was for nuclear disarmament and world peace.
I live in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, with my wife Sheilah, who is editor, proof-reader, and critic of my work. We are both avid readers, enjoying mainly thrillers.
I also love music, particularly jazz. When I was young, I played tenor sax in a rock/blues band, and more recently, Sheilah and I formed a Jazz duo to raise money for charity. We both enjoy traveling, watching cricket, and football.
©2020 CE Williams – V Williams