Author(s): Laurent Joffrin
On a moonlit night in 1943 an Indian princess was parachuted in to occupied France to join the Resistance as a radio operator code-named Aurora. Daughter of a Sufi mystic, she had declined the Special Operations Executive firearms training because she did not want to kill anyone - yet she landed in Brittany knowing that she had a 50 per cent chance of arrest, interrogation and torture by the Gestapo, and death - which for captured agents could sometimes not come soon enough. But the Nazis have to catch her first, and she has work to do in the meantime, together with a growing involvement with John Sutherland, a British Commando who is serving alongside her. It is his voice that tells the story of the months that follow as he and Noor travel to Paris to join the Prosper network and participate in their own parts of the resistance - he to blow up a train station and cover a commando attack on a U-Boat, she to let headquarters in London know exactly what is going on, under the nose of radio detectors that can pinpoint a transmitter within half and hour of it starting to broadcast. And as if escaping arrest and fighting the occupying forces is not enough, Sutherland has been told that there is a traitor in the network, and he must find out who it is before they are all betrayed. Yet maybe London wants the betrayal - maybe then the Germans will use the radio to try to gain secret knowledge - knowledge of where the landings will be when the Allies fight back? And who better to help Sutherland to understand the double- or triple-cross than Kim Philby, spymaster for the British who is later revealed as a Soviet mole. As the weeks pass Noor's position becomes increasingly vulnerable before her arrest, and Sutherland is determined to rescue her - but she understands what the price may be for a final victory. Atmospheric, tense and thrilling, based on the true story of Noor Inayat Khan, this is an excellent read both as spy story and romance - in the tradition of Sebastian Faulks and Douglas Kennedy.