The Best of Our Spies

This is book one of four books, so far.  Gerlis spent 25 years as a journalist for the BBC before giving up the good live to become a writer. This book is close to home in that most of the story takes place in the UK.

But the story opens in France as the Germans are pushing into the country and pushing the resistance on toward Dunkirk.  “She” is with a group of French strangers, all trying to avoid the Germans and get to safety without knowing where safety is. After many pages, “She” becomes Nathalie Mercier who is trying to avoid the Germans because they recruited her to spy for them in the late 30’s and she has changed her mind.

They catch her and rush her into the frenzy of the evacuation of Dunkirk with the mandate to use her nursing skills in England to get into a military hospital before sending any messages to Paris. Her emotions settle down and she once again decides to be the spy they trained her to be. She does not owe anything to the English.

This is a good story with a couple of plot twists that set it apart from the usual spy novels of WWII. If you like the genera you will like this book.

There are a couple of pitfalls. Gerlis is intent on giving us as much detail as possible which sometimes detracts from the actual story line. I wish his editor had used the blue pencil more freely. The second problem may only be true in the Kindle version that I read. There are numerous words in the wrong places, i.e., “he happy was.” It happens in the best of books, but not on every fifth page.

Prepare yourself to wonder about the two main characters until nearly the last page.

Mike Lawrence

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