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Summary and book reviews of Code Name Lise by Larry Loftis

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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2019, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2019, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

The extraordinary true story of Odette Sansom, the British spy who operated in occupied France and fell in love with her commanding officer during World War II - perfect for fans of Unbroken, The Nightingale and Code Girls.

The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father's footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.

As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris's Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.

In Code Name: Lise, Larry Loftis paints a portrait of true courage, patriotism, and love - of two incredibly heroic people who endured unimaginable horrors and degradations. He seamlessly weaves together the touching romance between Odette and Peter and the thrilling cat and mouse game between them and Sergeant Bleicher. With this amazing testament to the human spirit, Loftis proves once again that he is adept at writing "nonfiction that reads like a page-turning novel" (Parade).

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 ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The book is so readable that I think even those who generally prefer novels will find it riveting, but history buffs – particularly those who enjoy WWII nonfiction – will want to put it on their lists to be sure. While it doesn't shed new light on the conflict, it does highlight the life of a true heroine, and that fact alone makes it a standout...continued

Full Review Members Only (633 words).

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Wall Street Journal
Mr. Loftis’s writing is frequently difficult to tolerate. He takes a story that is already dramatic and tries to make it more so with cheesy coats of romance and horror...Fortunately, febrile prose can’t undercut the sheer power of Sansom’s story and of Sansom herself.

Publishers Weekly
Swift and entertaining, Loftis's work reads less like a biography and more like a thriller.

Kirkus Reviews
A true thriller...page-turner...Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger...A vivid history of wartime heroism.

Library Journal
Starred Review. Reading like a thrilling spy novel and the most exciting sort of nonfiction - well researched, well written, and fast paced enough to keep the pages turning - this will interest fans of the history of espionage, World War II history, military history, women's history, and biography.

Author Blurb Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of 12 Strong and In Harm's Way
Code Name: Lise is impossible to put down. Suffused with romance, told with a novelist's eye for page-turning thrills and the historian's acumen for facts, Loftis brings to colorful life a hero for our time, Odette Sansom. Like Unbroken and Code Girls, Odette Sansom's story is epic, intensely personal, emotionally rich, and hard to forget.

Author Blurb Tilar Mazzeo, New York Times bestselling author of Irena's Children
An astonishing story of love, survival, and almost unimaginable courage. Code Name: Lise is non-fiction that reads like a thriller and will keep readers riveted.

Author Blurb Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of The Switch and Judgment
Code Name: Lise is a grand adventure, part thriller, part love story, and full of wonderful details about the tradecraft of wartime espionage and the bravery of unsung heroes. A remarkable achievement that does honor to its subject. I hope someone takes it to the big screen as it has everything.

Author Blurb Brad Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Daughter of War
Larry has a knack for finding untold stories that read more like fiction than fact, and he's done it again with Code Name: Lise. Having grown up reading about the Jedburgh teams - the forerunners of US Special Forces - I found the story riveting, not the least because it's true, and Larry's relentless research makes Odette Sansom's heroics leap off the page, putting her in the pantheon of our own Special Forces heroes.

Author Blurb Elizabeth Cobbs, New York Times bestselling author of The Hamilton Affair
Loftis delivers a tale of courage, daring, valor - and love - for the ages. Code Name: Lise is the closest history comes to a romance novel.

Author Blurb Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Mission Critical
Larry Loftis brings the past to life with a brilliantly researched and executed tale of one woman's unparalleled heroism in occupied France during World War II. A riveting true story of love, betrayal and sacrifice, as engaging as any thriller, and not to be missed.

Author Blurb Salena Zito, bestselling author of The Great Revolt
If ever there was a lesson on the impact of one great revolt, this is it. Even the dreaded Gestapo couldn't stop it.

Author Blurb Sean Parnell, New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon and Man of War
As one who has seen combat up close and personal, I can say that what Odette and Peter Churchill went through is on another level. Heroism you'll never forget.

Author Blurb Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The First Wave and Avenue of Spies
Larry Loftis has crafted a true thriller, a highly entertaining account of the most highly decorated spy of WW2. A great read.

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Beyond the Book

Great Britain's First Aid Nursing Yeomanry

FANYs 1Odette Sansom, heroine of Larry Loftis's book Code Name Lise, began her espionage career as a member of the FANYs – Great Britain's First Aid Nursing Yeomanry.

FANY was formed as "an all-female volunteer organisation which deploys multi-faceted rapid response teams to support civil and military authorities in times of crisis" and its purpose remains the same to this day, over 100 years later. The idea for such a group began with Edward Baker, a Warrant Officer with the 21st Lancers in 1898, as he lay nursing his leg on the battlefield during the Mahdist War (1881-1899). He thought it would be advantageous to have nurses right there on the battlefield to tend to the wounded before they were transported to the casualty clearing ...

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