Trapeze: Book summary and reviews of Trapeze by Simon Mawer

Trapeze

by Simon Mawer

Trapeze by Simon Mawer X
Trapeze by Simon Mawer
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  • Published in USA  May 2012
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Barely out of school and doing her bit for the British war effort, Marian Sutro has one quality that makes her stand out - she is a native French speaker. It is this that attracts the attention of the SOE, the Special Operations Executive, which trains agents to operate in occupied Europe. Drawn into this strange, secret world at the age of nineteen, she finds herself undergoing commando training, attending a "school for spies," and ultimately, one autumn night, parachuting into France from an RAF bomber to join the WORDSMITH resistance network.

But there's more to Marian's mission than meets the eye of her SOE controllers; her mission has been hijacked by another secret organization that wants her to go to Paris and persuade a friend - a research physicist - to join the Allied war effort. The outcome could affect the whole course of the war.

A fascinating blend of fact and fiction, Trapeze is both an old-fashioned adventure story and a modern exploration of a young woman's growth into adulthood. There is violence, and there is love. There is death and betrayal, deception and revelation. But above all there is Marian Sutro, an ordinary young woman who, like her real-life counterparts in the SOE, did the most extraordinary things at a time when the ordinary was not enough.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"While the history behind this story is captivating, Mawer's take unfolds with inertia, is leaden with research that often feels unnecessary to the story, and is plagued with undeveloped characters, particularly his young heroine." - Publishers Weekly

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Diane S.

Trapeze
Hitler invades France and France becomes a place of tension and horror, food shortages although good wine can still be had. We know many of the names of the villains of World War II but few of the heroes, especially the regular people who stepped outside of their comfort level in an attempt to change a small part of history. For me the strength of this novel is that it made me think. A young woman of a privileged background joins the WAAF when England declares war on Germany. She is picked to join a covert unit and the reader follows her through her training and her mission as a courier in France. Paris is extremely dangerous and when she is sent there things start to go terribly wrong. This is the first novel I remember reading that features an ordinary person, who chooses to take on a mission she never thought she would have to face and does it with an amazing strength of will. Suspenseful and engaging reading. ARC from NetGalley.

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Author Information

Simon Mawer

Simon Mawer is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel The Glass Room (Other Press), which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. His previous novels include The Fall (winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize), The Gospel of Judas, and Mendel's Dwarf (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize). English by birth, he has made Italy his home for more than thirty years. Visit him online at www.simonmawer.com.

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