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The Best Fictional Books about the SOE

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The Special Operations Executive is much more widely known these days, with a proliferation of books and television about the heroic organisation set up by Churchill to thwart the Nazis. These are just some of the novels that provide the most realistic depictions of that organisation and the people who worked for it.

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    As Time Goes By
    by Ted Allbeury

    In 1942 three young women are parachuted into the Dordogne to work for a Special Operations Executive network. Their leader is Harry Bailey, a young man who loves one of them and fears for them all. Paulette, the passionately committed Frenchwoman, who never forgets her need for revenge against the Germans... down-to-earth Vi, motivated by an unselfish sense of obligation... Jenny, the least committed of the three, and the one who must find the most courage. As the months of dangerous waiting turn at last into active combat behind enemy lines as D-Day approaches, the three heroines' story moves to its unforgettable climax.

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    A Time Without Shadows
    by Ted Allbeury

    When the SS destroyed Special Operations Executive's Scorpio network in Occupied France, only Henri Masson escaped. Then his post-war trial was abruptly halted after a high level British intervention. Forty years later, awkward questions are raised in Westminster and the case has been reopened. The first thing Harry Chapman of MI6 discovers is that all records were destroyed by a senior SIS officer. The second is that there are still survivors from the Scorpio affair - and that Henri Masson might be among them. Chapman begins a jouney into the past, to France in the 1940s, to a time when few men were what they seemed - and fewer still could be trusted. A TIME WITHOUT SHADOWS is a classic espionage thriller from one of the true masters of the genre.

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    No Man Dies Twice
    by Michael Smith

    For fans of Tom Rob Smith comes a detective novel set during World War II. One spy has been sent to assassinate Hitler. One spy has been sent to stop him. A single policeman is all that stands in the way of changing history. Inspector Peter Ritter, one of the few honest detectives left in wartime Germany, is losing his grip on reality. The word on the street in the small Bavarian city of Rosenheim is that Ritter is not long for this world. He's made too many enemies with his rants against the regime and his obsession with solving crime, even when the villains are Nazi officials. The Gestapo are tracking his every move, and his marriage is falling apart. His only refuge is in drunken conversations with the specter of his dead father-in-law. When the killing of a Jew is followed by the bloody and brutal stabbing of the local Gestapo chief, Ritter realizes there is far more going on than just homicide. He uncovers a plot to assassinate Hitler and British spies fighting a turf war.

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    Assignment in Brittany
    by Helen MacInnes

    Three hours ago he had stood on English earth. Three hours ago he had been Martin Hearne... Now he was Bertrand Corlay. Martin Hearn had been summoned by Military Intelligence and given an important mission - enter Nazi-occupied France to gather information about German activities in the area. But to do so Hearn must impersonate a Frenchman to whom he bears an uncanny resemblance, and that includes having to fool the women in Corlay's life. When it becomes clear that Corlay was not simply an innocent French civilian, Hearn finds himself playing an increasingly dangerous game to outwit his Nazi enemies.

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    HHhH
    by Laurent Binet

    Two SOE men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich - chief of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'. His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says 'Himmler's brain is called Heydrich', which in German spells HHhH.

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