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Jackdaws [Mass Market Paperback]

Ken Follett
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 3 2002

"D day is approaching. They don't know where or when, but the Germans know it'll be soon, and for Felicity "Flick" Clairet, 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 communication, 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. Codenamed 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.

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From Amazon

Ken Follett has made his mark as one of the most assured thriller writers in the business, and although his form has faltered of late, Jackdaws shows that he's lost none of his steely skill. The time is May 1944, and Follett takes us into the provincial French town of Sainte-Cecile, suffering under the Nazi yoke for several years as the novel begins. Follett's heroine is the resourceful "Flick", whose real name is Felicity Clairet. She is English, and honoured throughout the town as the wife of Michel, who heads the Resistance circuit based in Rheims. During the day, Flick performs first aid for the townspeople; by night she risks her life alongside her husband in the Resistance.

Flick has to persuade herself that she is ready for her most important mission: to inaugurate a fighting team for an attack on a château used as a key Gestapo base--her team (all women, with one exception) are the eponymous "jackdaws". This fresh concept is carried off with the kind of effortless skill that was the distinguishing feature of Follett's best books, and his protagonist Flick is a distinctive, unusual creation. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Time is running out. With D-Day rapidly approaching, the Nazis are actively trying to quash the French resistance. Meanwhile, Britain's Special Operations branch is working hard to supply the resistance with intelligence, supplies and agents. Felicity "Flick" Clairet is one of England's most effective operatives in northern France. Having failed in an assault on the Nazis' main European telephone exchange, she regroups in England for another attempt, this time with an all-female team that will infiltrate the exchange under the guise of a French cleaning staff. Unfortunately, finding female agents fluent in French proves impossible and Flick resorts to crash-training nonprofessionals for the task. Imagine Charlie's Angels (minus the campiness) in The Guns of Navarone. Written in Follett's (Pillars of the Earth, etc.) riveting style and with his penchant for historical detail, the Jackdaws (the codename of the all-girl team) are given a heightened air of authenticity with Kate Reading's performance. She flavors her confident delivery with a wry cynicism that is inherent to Flick's character, and her use of international as well as regional accents keeps the rapid narrative flowing flawlessly. Simultaneous release with the Dutton hardcover (Forecasts, Oct. 15, 2001).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to World War II Aug. 11 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Like some other bestselling authors (namely John Grisham and Tom Clancy), Follett's last books flopped in the critics' and customers' reviews. "The third twin", "Code to zero" and "Hammer of eden" were thrashed from left and from right, and in my opinion deservedly so. Follett is a talented author, but in these three books it seems he chose subjects that didn't appeal to the general public. Besides, his style of wrtiting was different from the successful one that made books like "Pillars of the Earth" and "Eye of the needle" become most wanted among legions of Follett's fans. It looked like the author himself lost interest in his books, and his fans didn't take it lightly.
These facts may be true, and the proof is that Follett wrote two thrillers in sequence, less than one year apart, going back to the subject and the atmosphere he knows best: World War II. It seems his public liked the change. At least, the reviews are a lot kinder than before.
"Jackdaws" is the story of a group of women lead by secret agent Flick Clairet. Their mission is to parachute into occupied France, and blow-up a telephone exchange that will help provide the security the Allies need on D-day. OK. That's a good subject. The plot in "Jackdaws" is interesting and the pace is very fast. In fact, the very opening scene is a pistol shooting between the Gestapo and agents of the french Resistence. The chapters are all full of action, and Follett doesn't let the rhythm slow down. Yes, it seems he's back on track.
But there are some problems. I was left with the impression that, though the plot is interesting, it's somewhat thin, and Follett had to struggle hard to keep the reader's full-time attention. That's why there are so many cold-blooded murders, shootings, etc. One other problem is about the characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner May 7 2014
By Michal
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When reading this book I couldn't help but be amazed at Mr. Follett's gift of story telling in the context of history. The characters, the setting, the gut wrenching reality of the time all blend together in this amazing tale of heroism. Compulsively readable.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ken Follett's great story telling combined with amazingly accurate details about women's role in WW2 espionage/sabotage from a British point of view. One of my all time favorite books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it April 10 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Waiting for the next one ... Ken Follettt is one of my favourite autors.
Already recommended it ot my friends.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing March 10 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. .
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not Interesting June 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ken Follet is usually a great writer. Not this time. His strength is strong interesting characters that you come to care about. Not this time. The first half of the book is mostly page-filler. The second half, the action half, has a weak plot that he supplements with detail about torture.
If you want a great Follet read on WW II, try The Key to Rebecca or other earlier works.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great WWII fiction April 22 2004
By Brendan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Follett creates a riveting book during one of the most challenging times in history, with death and torture possible around any corner. The suspense feels real as we follow the French Resistance and the Germans trying to catch them. We find Flick Clariet to be an amazing heroine, stronger and more capable than most men would be. The antagonist in this book is very frightening, creating a real tension as the reader doesn't know if the protagonists will actually succeed. The strength of Dieter Franck makes the book that much more suspenseful and exciting.
Ken Follett is a master at putting you in the time period he is writing about. I loved this book and I look forward to reading many of his other WWII fiction. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! April 4 2010
Every Follett book is special, and so is this one.
You won't regret it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I loved this book, I couldn't put it down. The topic was great, it kept you on the end of your seat. I highly recommend it!
Published on Jan. 20 2009 by G. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Follett book........but it will NOT be my last!
I had not read anything for several years when I picked up the book Jackdaws. This was my first Ken Follett book. I could not put this book down. Read more
Published on March 3 2004 by Jeremy OBrien
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best WWII spy novels in years
The jackdaw is a bird and, in this case, the code name of a group of six female British spies in WWII. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2004 by Larry
4.0 out of 5 stars Jackdaws
I am a keen reader of Folletts work. Even though they all give similar flavor in different wrapping, I think his ability keep the reader on the tip toes must be... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2004 by M D Seneviratne
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked More Than I Thought I Would
I actually ended up liking this audiobook. Never having been a great fan of Follett's work, Pillars of the Earth being an exception, I actually found myself getting into the... Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Jackdaws
It's been many long years since I dipped into a Ken Follett novel; I recall reading The Eye Of The Needle as a youngster--I may have been about twelve years old! Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2004 by sleeping sheepsnake
4.0 out of 5 stars Did Follett write the entire book?
If I was a gambling man, I'd bet some serious money that Ken Follett had a woman write part of this book. Read more
Published on Sept. 11 2003
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