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Summary and book reviews of Jackdaws by Ken Follett

Jackdaws

by Ken Follett

Jackdaws
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2001, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2006, 416 pages

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Book Summary

'Follett delivers a very entertaining, very cinematic thriller about a ragtag, all-female band of British agents, code-named Jackdaws, sent to blow up a key telephone exchange in France on the eve of D-Day.'

D-Day is approaching. They don't know where or when, but the Germans know it'll be soon, and for Felicity "Flick" Clariet, the stakes have never been higher.

A senior agent in the ranks of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) responsible for sabotage, Flick has survived to become one of Britain's most effective operatives in Northern France. She knows that the Germans' ability to thwart the Allied attack depends upon their lines of communications, and in the days before the invasion no target is of greater strategic importance than the largest telephone exchange in Europe.

But when Flick and her Resistance-leader husband try a direct, head-on assault that goes horribly wrong, her world turns upside down. Her group destroyed, her husband missing, her superiors unsure of her, her own confidence badly shaken, she has one last chance at the target, but the challenge, once daunting, is now near-impossible. The new plan requires an all-woman team, none of them professionals, to be assembled and trained within days. Code-named the Jackdaws, they will attempt to infiltrate the exchange under the noses of the Germans--but the Germans are waiting for them now and have plans of their own. There are secrets Flick does not know--secrets within the German ranks, secrets among her hastily recruited team, secrets among those she trusts the most. And as the hours tick down to the point of no return, most daunting of all, there are secrets within herself....

Filled with the powerful storytelling, unforgettable characters, and authentic detail that have become his hallmarks, Jackdaws is Ken Follett writing at the height of his powers.

The First Day
Sunday, May 28, 1944

Chapter 1

One minute before the explosion, the square at Sainte-Cècile was at peace. The evening was warm, and a layer of still air covered the town like a blanket. The church bell tolled a lazy beat, calling worshipers to the service with little enthusiasm. To Felicity Clairet it sounded like a countdown.

The square was dominated by the seventeenth-century château. A small version of Versailles, it had a grand projecting front entrance, and wings on both sides that turned right angles and tailed off rearwards. There was a basement and two main floors topped by a tall roof with arched dormer windows.

Felicity, who was always called Flick, loved France. She enjoyed its graceful buildings, its mild weather, its leisurely lunches, its cultured people. She liked French paintings, French literature, and stylish French clothes. Visitors often found the French people unfriendly, but Flick had been speaking the language since she ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishing News

Starred Review. [Flick's] team (all women bar one) are the jackdaws of the title. This unusual idea is carried off with the kind of galvanic skill that was the hallmark of Follett's early books, and Flick is a memorable, complex heroine.

Kirkus Reviews

Another plumpish thriller from the Follett factory (Code Zero, 2000, etc.), this time featuring a sort of distaff dirty (half) dozen. They don't come any tougher, smarter, braver, or, for that matter, deadlier than Major Felicity (call her Flick) Clairet.... Ersatz characters, featureless prose, departures from formula nil. But to the Follett faithful that's probably good news.

Publishers Weekly

Follett delivers a very entertaining, very cinematic thriller about a ragtag, all-female band of British agents, code-named Jackdaws, sent to blow up a key telephone exchange in France on the eve of D-Day.

Library Journal

An exciting look at the dangerous world of courageous souls who confronted the Nazi monster in its lair, Follett's latest will not disappoint fans.

Reader Reviews
Chase

Excellent read
This was my first read from this author and I was really impressed. I couldn't put the book down once I got a feel for Ken's writing style. The characters are believable, and the twist and turns in this book are edge of your seat thrilling. I didn't ...   Read More

Manz

Loved it thoroughly

Justin

As a fan of World War Two based literature, I find Mr. Follett's book, Jackdaws, to be an excellent piece of writing that adequately represents France and its Nazi occupation in the 1940s. I am extremely impressed with this book and it has quickly ...   Read More

Dave

The author generally has very good character development in his novels. To me, the characters in this book were so real that I could actually visualize them as I read. I thought the story was a little bit of a stretch but the characters made the book...   Read More

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