Shadow Warriors: Daring Missions by Women of the OSS & SOE

shadow-warriors-uk-editionWorld War Two was the war in which old gender rules changed, as intelligence agencies created specific training and roles for women.

SHADOW WARRIORS is the story of women as undercover combatants: armed with Sten guns and grenades; cutting telecommunication wires, laying mines in roadways; organizing bombing raids; preparing the way for the D-Day invasion and harassing enemy forces as the Allies moved inland.

It begins by telling the story of how US and British intelligence agencies decided to use women as spies in a way they never had before; and of how they then recruited and trained them, as couriers, wireless operators, saboteurs and even resistance leaders.

These agents ranged from girls barely out of high school to mature mothers, from working class women to the daughters of aristocrats, from the prim and proper to wild high-livers.

They were taught how to send coded messages; how to lay explosive charges; and how to kill with knives, guns and their bare hands.

Sometimes they faced sexism and even derision from their trainers. Yolande Beekman, an efficient and courageous agent who was executed by the Germans, had been dismissed by one SOE instructor as, “A nice girl, darned the men’s socks, would make an excellent wife for an unimaginative man, but not much more than that.”

Their actions behind enemy lines were to change for ever the views of the US and UK intelligence communities on using women as agents.

Some, such as New Zealander Nancy Wake and Polish-born Christine Granville led men in battle. Granville masterminded the escape of a fellow SOE agent. Nancy led a gun and grenade attack on a Gestapo headquarters in France. American Virginia Hall became the Gestapo’s most wanted agent.

Others, such as the American Betty Pack, used their beauty and sexual allure to capture enemy secrets which would change the course of the war.

All these agents knew that torture and death were the price of failure. Some had to leave babies and children at home. Many paid the ultimate price for their bravery.

As Nancy Wake said: “I hate wars and violence but if they come then I don’t see why we women should just wave a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.”

The clandestine war, and therefore the war itself, would not have been won without the courage and contribution of these Shadow Warriors.

UK edition now available; US edition to be published by Chicago Review Press in January 2017.

 

 

Classic paperbacks#5: The Eagle Has Landed

The Eagle Has Landed
The Eagle Has Landed

A truly wonderful book which has thrilled since its first appearance in 1975.

Although the author had been already writing for many years, The Eagle Has Landed established Jack Higgins as one of the great thriller writers of the modern day.

His is a style I absolutely love.

The film starring Michael Caine came out the following year.

The above is the paperback version I first read in the early 1980s.

As a bonus here is the original cover:

TheEagleHasLanded

Classic paperbacks#2: The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai was first published in 1952.

Its writer, French-born Pierre Boulle, had been a prisoner of the Japanese during WW2. He used his experiences as a background to the book.

Interestingly, the original English translation of the French title of the book was The Bridge over the River Kwai. This appears to have been changed after the appearance of the David Lean film.

New Kindle edition of WW2 thriller!

Farewell Leicester Square
Farewell Leicester Square

A new edition of ‘Farewell Leicester Square’ is out now – with a brand new cover.

One for lovers of Jack Higgins and Alastair Maclean.

In the dying months of the Third Reich a fanatical alliance of SS officers and industrialists plans one final incredible mission to win the war.

They mastermind an ingenious plot to destroy London and force Britain to its knees.

But there is a spy among them.

And while the clock ticks down, a deadly race for survival takes place which could decide the fate of thousands of lives.

The action in this fast-paced novel switches from occupied Jersey to the lives of SOE and Resistance fighters in Belgium.

Intriguingly, it opens in London in 2005, as a terror attack on the city makes sickening headlines around the world.

Buy it now for just £1.29!

“I could not put this book down!”

A new five star for WW2 SOE/resistance thriller, Farewell Leicester Square:

Image

“I have a strong interest in stories of the Second World War, and once I began to read Farewell Leicester Square, I could not put it down. The characters simply leapt from the page and the suspense and tension gripped me. I even found myself holding my breath at various points when a character was in a dangerous situation. This book is historically authentic and clearly was very well researched. I look forward to John Kilkade’s next book!”

SEE THE REVIEW HERE

 

Cover image for new edition of ‘Farewell Leicester Square’

‘Farewell Leicester Square’

Very excited to receive the cover image for the new e-edition of ‘Farewell Leicester Square’.

The Kindle version of the book is on sale at a special price at the moment so please check it out!

There have been so many great reviews so far. Thanks to all the readers who have contacted me.

“A superb thriller… I didn’t know where the story was going and it really zipped along… Lots of action and intrigue. Loved it.”

“Captivating from beginning to end. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Full of intrigue and some shocks along the way. Historical wartime descriptions are incredibly accurate and deftly pull you into the story. It’s almost as if you’re there. Looking forward to the next one by Mr Kilkade.”

“Excellent thriller…  Fast plot and lots of action and builds to a very exciting climax over London. I loved it.”

“A must read. Thoroughly enjoyable read. Captivates the readers imagination.”

Thanks!

Don’t forget to let me know what you think of the new cover.

Nazi-Occupied Jersey

While researching ‘Farewell Leicester Square’ Jon Kilkade spent a great deal of time exploring the amazing concrete legacy of the German occupation of the Channel Islands.

This photograph, taken by Jon, shows one of Jersey’s three direction and range-finding towers for artillery. La Corbière lighthouse is in the background.

Nearby there is a 10.5cm casemate bunker containing its original coastal defence gun – a French WWI gun which the Germans captured during the Blitzkrieg in 1940.