What’s it about?
An elderly woman of striking beauty is found murdered in Orleans, France. Her identity has been cleverly erased, but the method of her death is very specific: she has been killed in the manner of traitors to the Resistance in World War Two.
Tracking down her murderer leads police inspector Inès Picaut back to 1940s France, where the men and women of the Resistance were engaged in a desperate fight for survival against the Nazi invaders.
To find answers in the present, Picaut must discover what really happened in the past, untangling a web of treachery and intrigue that stretches back to the murder victim’s youth: a time when unholy alliances were forged between occupiers and occupied, deals were done and promises broken. The past has been buried for decades, but, as Picaut discovers, there are those in the present whose futures depend on it staying that way – and who will kill to keep their secrets safe….
After hearing Manda Scott on Simon Mayo’s Books of the Year podcast I downloaded this book straight away using a free Audible credit.
At nearly 19 hours long it is a huge investment of time and despite the many weeks it took me to listen to it, the vast amount of characters and dual time line it is a fascinating listen!
When Sophie Destivelle is murdered in modern day France her death is linked back to her time as a WWII Special Operations Executive. The time we spend back in WW2 is incredibly gripping and tense but not without, of course, the horror. There are some vicious scenes but it is as you’d expect from a spy novel of this time. Sophie’s character is awesome; she’s kick-ass and hardcore which I really liked!
I’m not gonna lie I couldn’t put the time into this Audible book as much as I’d have liked which is why it’s taken me around 6 weeks to complete it. There are also so many characters in the present day and the past that trying to remember who they were and how they played a part in the past I found difficult. This was entirely down to me and my listening habits. As much as I do enjoy an Audible book and I liked the narrators in this, I think I would have had a much better experience had I read a physical copy. I found I was trying to deciphering the names and I would have preferred to see them written down.
Since finishing I’ve since discovered this is the second in a series but wholeheartedly recommend as a standalone as it has such a superb plot. In all honesty, it’s a book that I’d actually like to re-read. I think I missed quite a bit and didn’t follow everything and recollect so didn’t really stand a chance of piecing it together. This is a real treat for fans of historical fiction especially if you’re interested in roles women played as SOEs.
Small print for info
Source: Purchased – Audible
No of pages: 480
Publisher: Bantum Press