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Jackdaws by Ken Follett
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Jackdaws (original 2001; edition 2009)

by Ken Follett

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1,941363,516 (3.63)27
Member:hirotani
Title:Jackdaws
Authors:Ken Follett
Info:Pan (2009), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Kindle (read)
Rating:***
Tags:WWII, Adventure

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Jackdaws by Ken Follett (2001)

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English (29)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Love to read historical fiction, especially from WWII. This book has the right amount of suspense and great characters. As a tech on an adult circulation desk, I always recommend this book to interested in this genre and they usually come back for more of Ken Follett's books. ( )
  ILSBecky | Jul 11, 2014 |
This was a very fine WWII espionage story. Although interesting, the early part of the novel is a little slow after starting with a bang, but it is worth getting through that. The story starts on May 28th, 1944, less than 2 weeks before D-day. The French resistance with British undercover agents, some in deep cover, are trying to disrupt German communications which is seen by both sides as critical to the success or failure of the invasion. The book starts with a failed attempt to destroy a telephone exchange. With only days before the invasion a second attempt is planned, this time with an all-women force of cast-offs and third string agents who had been washed out of training. Time is of the essence, however, and a rushed operation is put together.

I can't say I bonded much with the characters in this story - in particular the lead agent "Flick" who does come across as a real person. I did however get very drawn into this story as everything played out. It is a rather harsh and desperate time for all involved. Overall I found the portrayal of all the main characters pretty vivid and well done, and liked how they were developed through the story, with the Germans really done well. Getting inside the head of one of these guys, a German Army officer, Dieter, was spooky. I hate to admit that he was the most interesting character in the sense that he was really brought to life and I could understand who he was and his motivations.

There are some elements in the story (Nazi torture in particular) that might bother or upset some people. I enjoyed this a lot, and it is well written and it just makes it up to the level of an excellent book for me. ( )
  RBeffa | May 1, 2014 |
I only occasionally read historical fiction. However, a new friend spoke well of Ken Follet so I grabbed a sampling of his books from our public library to try. I started with Jackdaws which is set in 1944, primarily in Nazi-occupied France. It turned out to be an excellent read, and the only thing preventing me from reading it in one sitting yesterday was that I had other things I had to get done...

Turns out, Jackdaws was a great first choice for me. A fast way to win my involvement is to make your protagonist a woman who is tough and intelligent and still has real emotions. Particularly compassion. Flick is definitely that kind of character. When she's tough and necessarily ruthless, it is because she has to be. The rest of the time, she's as human as the rest of us. She laughs, she cries, her emotions sometimes lead her off course, and she makes mistakes. A real person in extraordinary circumstances.

That holds true for the majority of other characters also, including the antagonist. He too is a real person in extraordinary circumstances. We may not approve of his methods, his choice of who to serve in the war, but he does have real reasons for what he does throughout the book. At times, you can almost empathize with the antagonist, ...except that his methods are horrible enough that I really can't feel sorry for him. Eerrgh.

I had a fear that the book would be exposition heavy, but I was proven wrong about that. It seemed a little slow at the start, but I was hooked early enough that there was no difficulty reading along until the pace picked up. By then I was completely immersed and the book kept me motivated to keep reading all the way to the end.

There is graphic violence and depictions of torture in this book. However, they are not over-lavish or excessive. Follet doesn't sugar coat the kinds of things that happened to people during the war...some of the characters do horrible things...but Follet spends only enough time on the scene so that the reader has a sense of what is happening. I imagine that was a difficult balancing act during the editing phase...

Overall, a great book, well-written, well-plotted, and well-executed. A couple of "dings" for the slow start and simply because I have trouble saying "I loved it" and remembering the torture at the same time. ( )
  feaelin | Oct 20, 2013 |
Review of Jackdaws by Ken Follett
If you are in love with World War II spy stories, Jackdaws is the book for you. Based on a true story, Jackdaws is the account of an all female British team of spies who parachute into France in 1944. Their mission is to blow up a chateau that houses a vital telephone system, used by the Germans, to pass critical information from France to the German command. Destroying the telephone system is vital to prevent the Germans from being able to warn Germany of the Allies impending landing on the beaches of Normandy.
The plot of Jackdaws is filled with breathtaking twists and turns with suspense waiting for you in every corner. If you want to relax with a good read, buy Jackdaws. ( )
  SharonPMoxley | Mar 30, 2013 |
A good, fast-paced tale, but not of the same caliber as Follett's best works like "The Key to Rebecca". The most interesting character turns out to be a Nazi. Perhaps a precurser to Quentin Tarantino's bad guy Nazi, Col. Lada, in "Inglorious Basterds". Perhaps Christopher Waltz could also play the Nazi in this book - if ever made into a movie. ( )
  starkravingmad | Jan 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Follett, Kenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raffo, AnnamariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Exactly fifty women were sent into France
as secret agents by the Special Operations
Executive during the Second World War.
Of those, thirty-six survived the war.
The other fourteen gave their lives.

This is book is dedicated to all of them.
Dedication
First words
One minute before the explosion, the square at Sainte-Cécile was at peace.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451219597, Paperback)

Penzler Pick, November 2001: Each book by Ken Follett, one of the most successful suspense writers of our time, is a welcome event. With Jackdaws, he returns to his most successful era, the darkest days of World War II.

It is 1944 and the Allies are preparing for the invasion of Europe. In the occupied town of Sainte-Cecile, the French Resistance is preparing to blow up the chateau that now houses the crucial telephone exchange connecting the French telephone system to that of Germany. Bombers have been unable to inflict enough damage on the chateau to disrupt communications for more than a few hours at a time, but the Allies need to make sure that communications is down for longer so that there will be as little warning of the invasion as possible.

Felicity Clariet, known as Flick, is a British secret agent patrolling the streets around the chateau waiting for the first explosions that will give the signal for the attack to begin. She is married to Michel, a Resistance fighter. When the operation goes horribly wrong, they barely escape with their lives and Flick returns to her home in London--but not for long. When Flick returns to France it will be as part of an audacious, quickly assembled plan to put female spies in the chateau as telephone operators and cleaners, enabling the Allies to destroy the ability of the Exchange to warn Germany in advance of the landing on the beaches of Normandy. The twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Follett tells us that Jackdaws is based on a true story. The Special Operations Executive sent 50 women into France as secret agents. Thirty-six survived. --Otto Penzler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In his own best tradition of "Eye of the Needle" and "The Key to Rebecca, " Follett follows his major bestseller, "Code to Zero, " with a breathtaking novel of suspense set in the most dangerous days of World War II.

(summary from another edition)

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