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 writing at the height of his powers…
Britian sent fifty women agents into France and Occupied Europe during the Second World War. They were very brave – many were captured and tortured. I wanted to write about women agents, and the role they played. In Jackdaws, their job is to destroy a big telephone exchange that is vital to the German’s defences. It can’t be bombed, as it is in a bomb-proof bunker, and the French Resistance can’t get near it, as it is too well guarded. So a team of women, disguised as cleaners, is sent to destroy the exchange…
Listen to Ken’s view on Jackdaws
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- “A celebration of uncommon courage and unlikely heroes” — People magazine
- “Deeply satisfying… delivers plenty of bang for your buck” — Entertainment Weekly
- “This high-spirited adventure doesn't disappoint. Intelligent thrillers are a rare find, and Follett delivers every time.” — Bookpage
- “Follett delivers a very entertaining, very cinematic thriller… promises to be one of his most popular novels ever.” — Publisher’s Weekly
- “Unusual idea is carried off with the kind of galvanic skill that was the hallmark of Follett’s early books” — Publishing News
- “Riveting suspense… great entertainment… perhaps the perfect relief from an overdose of news that’s laced with anthrax, terrorism and war.” — The Baltimore Sun
- “An exciting look at the dangerous world of courageous souls who confronted the Nazi monster in its lair” — Library Journal
Jackdaws by Ken Follet — Macmillan, London December, 2001.
Le Réseau Corneille in French by Robert Laffont
Die Leopardin in German by Lübbe
Le Gazze Ladre in Italian by Mondadori
Alto Riesgo in Spanish by Random House Mondadori
Codenaam Torenkraai in Dutch by Uitgeverij Unieboek in August 2003
Also published in many other languages, and available as an audiobook and as an ebook.