In 1962 the young Patrick Marnham set off by car for a small village in central France. There he was taught French by an imperious countess, who he later discovered had fought in the Resistance until, betrayed, she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. On the very same day that his hostess’s network was broken, Jean Moulin, de Gaulle’s delegate as head of the combined Resistance forces, was arrested in Lyons, where he was tortured by Klaus Barbie before dying in Gestapo custody. Was this coincidence, or were these events connected? The anonymous letter writer suggested a key to the mystery.
Using a knowledge of France gained from 12 years as the Independent’s Paris correspondent, and subsequent research in archives in England and France, Marnham set out to discover the truth about the betrayal of the old lady who had become his tutor and friend. Following a trail leading from London through Occupied Europe to the rank and file Resistance in lost corners of France, he has unravelled the story of a complex wartime deception, involving British, American and French intelligence services.
The War in the Shadows shines a light on the brutality and cynicism of the Secret War and reveals how it was actually fought. The result is a story of ruthless double-dealing worthy of John le Carré, but with this difference: it is not a fiction.
About the Author
Patrick Marnham is a biographer, reporter and screenwriter. His biographies have covered subjects as diverse as Diego Rivera, Georges Simenon, Jean Moulin and Mary Wesley. He was a staff writer for Private Eye, a BBC script writer, Literary Editor of the Spectator and Paris correspondent of the Independent. His most recent book is Snake Dance: Journeys Beneath a Nuclear Sky. He lives near Oxford.
'Patrick Marnham is one of our very best writers on France.'
— Antony Beevor
'A brilliant and revelatory work of modern historical investigation,
throwing new light on the French Resistance and the complex world of
secret intelligence. Written with remarkable insight, understanding and
empathy – a triumph.'
— William Boyd
'An incredible story brilliantly told. Marnham has created an utterly gripping story of wartime espionage, deception, double-crossing and terrible betrayal that drew me in from the outset. A stunning work of investigation, research and scholarship. I honestly think this is the best book I have ever read about the SOE in France.'
— James Holland
'A masterly analysis, impeccably presented'.
— The Spectator
'It is beautifully written, minutely observed. ... full of underhand trickery... in every sense of the word an intriguing book.'
— Roger Boyes, The Times
‘War in the Shadows is a melange of Le Grand Meaulnes and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It is unforgettable.’
— TLS, BOOKS OF THE YEAR