Saturday, December 07, 2013

Jackdaws, by Ken Follett

Jackdaws, by Ken Follett

Set in World War II in the week before D-Day, this is an uneven espionage story about an all-female group of Allied saboteurs. Only two characters—the main heroine, Flick, and the main villain, Dieter—get any degree of depth; the rest are cardboard cutouts that fill a role: the ditzy aristocrat, the gutsy gypsy, the perceptive boyfriend, the sadistic torturer, the dense Gestapo Major, and so on. The action takes place over ten days (minus a short afterward that gives the happy ending), and during that time Flick shows an unbelievable array of traits: loving, faithful wife that suddenly takes a new lover, heartless leader yet compassionate trainer, and stalwart soldier to cold-blooded executioner. A quick read and a rollicking story, but shallow characterization and an over-accelerated plot keep this from being memorable.

First Sentence:
One minute before the explosion, the square at Sainte-Cécile was at peace.

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