Excerpt from Code Name Lise by Larry Loftis, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Code Name Lise

The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy

by Larry Loftis

Code Name Lise by Larry Loftis X
Code Name Lise by Larry Loftis
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  • Published:
    Jan 2019, 384 pages

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Prologue

Shortly after ten the mist began to dissipate, leaving them partially exposed.

If it didn't come soon, someone might notice the four mounds that had not been there two hours ago. It was bitterly cold—in the low teens—but Odette remained still, shivering in her wool skirt.

Finally, they heard it. Everyone hustled into position and watched as Peter flashed the code.

Nothing back. Peter flashed again. Still nothing. The plane passed directly overhead at eight hundred feet and then vanished.

Peter scooted across the field and crept up beside her.

"I simply don't understand it," he said behind clouded breath. "He must have seen the signal."

Something wasn't right, Odette knew. It was mission feel, to be sure—the fox catching a scent it remembered as danger: men loitering around the buildings that afternoon ... no airport activity ... the plane ignoring their signal. The eerie mist didn't help, either.

Peter told her to stay low and crept to the end of the L formation. "Keep an eye on those buildings," he told Jacques. "I have a feeling we're in for an unwelcome interruption from that quarter."

Moving up the line, he ducked down beside Paul. "There's someone coming!" he whispered. "Lie flat on the ground."

Across the field, Odette could see the danger: two figures—guards?—emerging from the direction of the control tower. They were headed directly toward Peter and Paul.

Ten yards.

Approaching the two mounds.

Five yards.

Odette gaped, pupils wide. Were the guards going to step on them?

The two figures kept walking, apparently just in front of Peter and Paul. When they were out of sight, Peter came back.

"I thought they were going to walk slap into you," Odette said. "I can't think how they missed you."

Peter cast his gaze across the field and hangars. "The plane ought to be back at any moment. If there's any danger from those buildings I shall wave my torch sideways and Jacques will come over to you and you're both to beat it over the bridge. Paul and I will make a separate retreat; better to be in two groups."

"Listen!" Odette uttered. The plane was returning. If it recognized Peter's code with the countersign, they'd turn on their lights to illuminate the landing field. If it didn't, it was German.

Peter moved back to position and Odette kept her eyes peeled. All was silent around the buildings as the drone of the aircraft grew louder.

A flash swept suddenly over the horizon and Odette froze. It was not Peter's.

It was a trap!

Some three hundred yards away—directly in line with the aircraft's flight—an Aldis lamp was flashing Morse to the tower. Barrack lights snapped on and someone shouted: "Put out those lights, you imbeciles! Wait for the plane to land and we'll grab them all."

Odette saw Peter's flashlight wave and then watched as he and Paul began racing across the field. The aircraft followed them, diving down on their heads at just six feet and then rising and disappearing.

Odette turned to take off, but she could hear the plane returning.

Would it let loose its guns, dropping Peter and Paul like pins?

Just then, Jacques ran up.

"You make for the right," Odette called out, "and I'll meet you on the back road to Périgueux."

The Germans would expect the saboteurs to head for the only cover, but separating the posse might add confusion. Jacques tore off and Odette started to run when she heard a terrifying sound.

Turning back she saw him: an unleashed German Shepherd sniffing the area she had just left. The dog caught her scent, barked again, and was off.

Odette sprinted for the trees, adrenaline raging, but the ground was uneven and she fell. He was closing the gap, she knew. She scrambled up and dashed on.

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Excerpted from Code Name Lise by Larry Loftis. Copyright © 2019 by Larry Loftis. Excerpted by permission of Gallery Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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