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Jackdaws Mass Market Paperback – Nov 26 2002

4.0 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; First THUS edition (Nov. 26 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451207521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451207524
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #146,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not Ken Follet's best effort. This book is basically a feminine reincarnation of The Dirty Dozen updated for political correctness. It's a triple dip: strong woman versus evil man, politicians who are bigots and liars, and the drag queen with inner strength and beauty. Then, throw in some romantic tension...boy and girl, that girl and her husband, her husband and another girl, girl and girl, and the Nazi and the sweet hooker. There are enough gays, lesbians and affairs in this book to keep Jerry Springer in material for a month. I'm a Ken Follet fan but this one just doesn't measure up. I felt as though the author was being condescending.
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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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The jackdaw is a bird and, in this case, the code name of a group of six female British spies in WWII. They are assigned the daunting task of infiltrating a French chateau that serves as the communications center of the Nazis. Their mission is to destroy the communications of the Nazi northern European theatre on the eve of the D Day invasion thereby wreaking havoc in the Nazi defensive coordinations. Flick Clairet is the leader of this intrepid bunch and must deal with, not only the risk of the mission, but also the cattiness of her team. On the opposite side is Dieter Franck, a Nazi intelligence officer assigned by Rommel to thwart the efforts of the French resistance. He manages to stumble upon the mission of the Jackdaws. Franck is also a highly effective, yet ruthless, interrogator and with a team of sadistic Gestapo agents, obtains his information about the group. It quickly becomes a cat and mouse game to see if the British agents succeed.
Ken Follet has returned, once again, to the arena that made his reputation-- WWII spy intrigue. He has, by doing so, written one of his finest works and may be one of the best WWII spy novels in many years in terms of sheer thrills, rapid fire pacing and truly fun characters. Follett alternates the point of view between Flick and Dieter Franck so we always know what the other side is doing. This technique also serves to develop a sense of sympathy for both sides. Even though we know Dieter represents true evil, we also come to understand that ultimately he has a job to do and must do it at all costs even if he must make a pact with the devil. In spite of the horrors around him, he is a man with moral principals who justifies his actions by claiming he derives no enjoyment in the torture he must use to obtain his information.
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