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JACKDAWS is the code name given to a band of brave and brash
women whose task it is to destroy a Nazi telephone center in the
last crucial days before D-Day. Said to be based on a true story,
we are immediately thrown into an ill-fated attempt to disrupt the
strategic communications hub as the Allies gather across the
English Channel for the Normandy invasion. A crew of French
Resistance fighters is thwarted in their attempt to carry out the
assignment, and the leader of the group, Felicity Clairet, known as
"Flick," and her husband Michel are among the handful of survivors
of the ill-fated mission. Michel is wounded in the attack, so
Felicity must return alone to the MI6 headquarters in London and
devise a new plan.

With time running short and the Nazis on high alert to a possible
second attempt, British Intelligence reluctantly decides to go with
Flick's plan to infiltrate the communications center with a group
of women disguised as cleaners. The challenge is to find, recruit
and train a suitable cadre of women with the temperament and skills
needed for such a task --- in three days. In the mid-1940s there
were few women with explosives, weaponry, and telephone engineering
skills available, so other personality characteristics were sought.
Flick and her cohorts scour bars, jails, and country estates to
enlist the aid of one of the most unlikely groups of misfits since
"The Dirty Dozen."

Most of the book is spent describing the recruitment and training
of this band of marauders, exciting stuff on its own. As D-Day
draws near, the group encounters time and again the cruel and
diabolical Dieter Werner, Nazi chief interrogator. The plot twists
and turns at every event, leaving us on the edge of our

Laced with graphic violence, torture and sex scenes, JACKDAWS may
not be for the faint of heart. This extraordinarily cinematic book
plays out in the mind's eye as if on the big screen. Hollywood
mega-producer, Dino De Laurentiis, with smash thrillers Red
Dragon, Hannibal, Ragtime,
and Blue Velvet among others
under his belt, has purchased the film rights.  

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2011

by Ken Follett

  • Publication Date: November 26, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Signet
  • ISBN-10: 0451207521
  • ISBN-13: 9780451207524