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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Simon Mawer - The Girl who fell from the Sky

reviewed live on bookshow by Brian Lowen on 29th august 2013

Marian Sutro is half French and half British, and as she speaks fluent French she is recruited  by the British Secret Service to go undercover in France during the second world war.

The story takes us through all her training in a remote house in Scotland before she is finally accepted as being suitable to be an agent working with the Resistance in France.

She soon finds herself parachuting into south-west France, having been trained in sabotage, how to perform under interrogation and how to kill.

Her real destination, however is occupied Paris, where she must seek out an old family friend, Clement Pelleteir, a nuclear Physicist, whose expertise is in urgent need back in England.

She makes contact with the local resistance group and arranges drops of supplies from England. She eventually gets to Paris and finds Clement and also Yvette, with whom she trained back in England. The group that she was part of in Paris have all been captured, so Marian tries to arrange for her to escape back to England with Clement, who has agreed to go.

The story gives a good idea what life must have been like in occupied Paris with very little food to eat and always looking behind you to check if you were being followed. You are not able to trust anyone and Marian has to use her training in how to kill.  Life was much easier in the countryside where at least you had reasonable food, but all life’s little luxuries had disappeared.

A good story, but it did not grip me as much as similar stories by other authors on this subject, ie Ken Follett and Leslie Thomas.

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