Night of the Fox Hardcover – Jan 1987
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From Publishers Weekly
An American colonel who knows the secrets of forthcoming D day has washed up, wounded, on the German-occupied island of Jersey, off the coast of England, and must be rescued. Thus the basic premise of Higgins's most tingling thriller since The Eagle Has Landed. An ex-philosophy don of part-German descent is assigned to effect the rescue, disguised as a special envoy of the dreaded Himmler and accompanied by his "mistress." Enmeshed in this complex situation are the activities of Rommel, who sends a Jewish actor (somewhat improbably, also a Wehrmacht corporal) to impersonate him on an "inspection tour" of Jersey's defenses, while he secretly meets with other top generals bent on assassinating the fuhrer. Caught up in the deadly game of "who's-fooling-whom and for how long?" are an amorous Italian count, a Finnish air ace and a hero of the Irish cause, while in the background loom Eisenhower and Hitler himself. Speed, surprise and suspense are Higgins's long suit, rather than convincing characterization, but engrossed readers are not likely to mind. Paperback rights to Pocket Books; Reader's Digest and Condensed Books book club selections; BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Colonel Hugh Kelso is privy to information regarding the Normandy landings, but he is injured and hiding on the German-occupied island of Jersey in May 1944. Kelso must be removed from Jersey before he is captured or, failing that, must be executed. Selected for the job is philosopher-turned-assassin Harry Martineau. To aid him in his impersonation of a Nazi officer, as well as guide him to Kelso, Harry secures the services of Sarah Drayton. Drayton's aunt is sheltering Kelso, and she is of an age to pose as Martineau's French mistress. Martineau is skillful but he is fortunate to obtain the help of an Italian naval officer and a Jewish actor-turned-German paratrooper who assist him in completing his task. Higgins combines powerful narrative with documentary detail in an exceptional tale that relies upon the interweaving histories of the various characters. BOMC alternate. J.K. Sweeney, History Dept., South Dakota State Univ., Brookings
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The discovery of old photographs of British war hero Harry Martineau dressed in a Nazi uniform serves as the starting point for this fast-paced historical thriller. Set on the Channel Islands during the Second World War, "Night of the Fox" revolves around Martineau's assembly of a team of doppelgangers who, posing as an elite German squad, are sent to retrieve a captured British officer - a man who knows the exact time and place of the Allied invasion of France. Things fall apart when one of Martineau's men drowns and is discovered to be wearing a R.A.F. uniform under his German one. Higgins skilfully keeps the story moving forward, and the remembered tale of heroism and sacrifice is told with just a hint of nostalgia, in a tone appropriate to the sad chain of events its heroes endure.
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.
Higgins' skills are a masterful ability to deceive and counterdeceive his character - and the reader - in a journey of excitement and adventure. His characters are well-drawn. The pace is relentless. The stakes for Normandy are high and well-known. As a companion to his earlier book, "The Eagle Has Landed", Higgins continues in a fine tradition of WW 2 Intrigue.
Michael Mandaville, Author "Stealing Thunder"