Follett is a very successful writer of thrillers and historical fiction who has sold 130 million copies of his works. Although he was born several years after the end of WWII, a number of his novels have been set in that wartime era.
Jackdaws is a novel of this genre, a thriller, certainly, but somewhat suspect for its historical accuracy. It is about events in occupied France in a period of ten days before the Allied invasion which started on June 6, 1944. In this short period, an effort by the French resistance, coordinated by the British SAS to destroy a vital German military telephone exchange was aborted and a scratch group of women were assembled and trained by the SAS, parachuted into France and after much derring-do, blew up the exchange, in the nick of time before D-Day.
As a thriller, where one can suspend rational belief, it was an agreeable page-turner. As a piece of historical fiction it was absurd rubbish. To perform this very complex operation in about a week with an ill-assorted bunch of misfits, already turned down as possible SAS recruits, is an insult to the many gallant men and women who did participate in wartime espionage. The characters were two-dimensional and the sex, straight and gay, was unnecessarily gratuitous.
Jackdaws would be acceptable to read on a long boring aeroplane flight, but didn’t make it, in my opinion, as a worthwhile book. .