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War in the Shadows: Resistance, Deception and Betrayal in Occupied France (Hardcover)

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‘One of our very best writers on France.’ Antony Beevor

After publishing an acclaimed biography of Jean Moulin, leader of the French Resistance, Patrick Marnham received an anonymous letter from a person who claimed to have worked for British Intelligence during the war. The ex-spy praised his book but insisted that he had missed the real ‘treasure’. The letter drew Marnham back to the early 1960s when he had been taught French by a mercurial woman – a former Resistance leader, whose SOE network was broken on the same day that Moulin was captured and who endured eighteen months in Ravensbrück concentration camp. Could these two events have been connected? His anonymous correspondent offered a tantalising set of clues that seemed to implicate Churchill and British Intelligence in the catastrophe.

Drawing on a deep knowledge of France and original research in British and French archives, War in the Shadows exposes the ruthless double-dealing of the Allied intelligence services and the Gestapo through one of the darkest periods of the Second World War. It is a story worthy of Le Carré, but with this difference – it is not fiction.

‘A melange of Le Grand Meaulnes and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It is unforgettable.’ Ferdinand Mount, TLS, Books of the Year

‘A masterly analysis, impeccably presented.’ Allan Mallinson, Spectator

‘Fascinating… Marnham has a vast and scholarly knowledge of this often treacherous world.’ Caroline Moorehead, Literary Review

About the Author


Patrick Marnham lived and worked in France for many years. He has been a staff writer for Private Eye, a BBC script writer, Literary Editor of the Spectator and Paris correspondent of the Independent and the Evening Standard. His biographies include lives of the Resistance leader Jean Moulin, and the novelists Georges Simenon and Mary Wesley. His most recent travel book is Snake Dance: Journeys Beneath a Nuclear Sky.

Praise For…


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

‘A masterly analysis, impeccably presented.’
— Spectator

‘It is beautifully written, minutely observed… full of underhand trickery… in every sense of the word an intriguing book.’
— Roger Boyes, The Times

‘Fascinating… Marnham has a vast and scholarly knowledge of this often treacherous world… [and] has painted a vivid picture of a number of idealistic and trusting men and women caught up in a game of subterfuge, rivalry and politics that remains impervious to full exposure, even now.’
— Literary Review

‘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

Product Details
ISBN: 9781786078094
ISBN-10: 1786078090
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Pages: 400
Language: English