It's near the end of World War II, and Hugh Kelso is an American officer who knows important information about the pending invasion in France when his boat is sunk in the English Channel. His rescue raft washes up on the shore of the isle of Jersey, which is presently under German occupation. Hugh is lucky to be rescued by Helen de Ville, a Jersey resident who hides him in her home and gets a message to the Allies that she has him. A rescue team is sent, as it is imperative that Hugh Kelso be kept out of German hands because of the information he has about the invasion.
The British send in Harry Martineau, who can perfectly imitate a German officer and has nerves of steel, and young Sarah Drayton, a nurse who can pass for his French girlfriend who also happens to be Helen de Ville's niece. With their forged papers, Harry a/k/a Standartenfuhrer Max Vogel and Sarah fly to France to meet with the Resistance there, and then go on to Jersey to play their parts. At the same time, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel needs to be in two places at once, so he sends an imposter to Jersey to take his place. Rommel's double and Standartenfuhrer Vogel cross paths and make each other nervous, and Vogel has also raised some suspicions with the powers that be on Jersey.
The story moves from Rommel's imposter, to Harry and Sarah and their friends at de Ville Place, to the German contingent on the island, and cruises along at an easy pace while the danger slowly builds. Things happened that I knew were going to cause trouble, yet the story ambled along in an easy manner, which kept me turning the pages and eagerly anticipating being able to pick it back up every time I had to put it down. I've always enjoyed a good World War II story, and Jack Higgins seems to have a special flair for the era. I not only felt like I was right there on Jersey, but in the rooms with these characters, who were all warm, real people I would want to know. There's something incredibly romantic about the World War II era, with the black market, the bartering, the danger, and the basic lifestyle most people were reduced to as the world at large went off the rails. This book in particular showed a glimpse of life under occupation, and the wonderful human spirit that can prevail in such conditions. Though Jack Higgins has been writing books for a long time, I'm fairly new to them, and I consider myself lucky that there are so many more waiting for me.