Codenaame: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameseson
A Mystic’s daughter flees Moscow on the eve of the Great War.
A French soldier lies wounded on the Western Front.
A German officer veers between loyalty and integrity.
An English courtesan reclines on a sea of books.
Each will make a journey that changes history.
The constellations will force the Mystic’s daughter to make an impossible choice. To remain at her harp as the shadow of war looms again – or join the top-secret Special Operations Executive (SOE). Babouli to her Sufi father, ‘Madeleine’ to the Gestapo, a lone mission to Occupied Paris promises to be the most hazardous of World War Two.
Inspired by real events, CODENAME: MADELEINE is the most unexpected spy story ever told. It teems with tigers, zeppelins, elephants, U-boats, angels, assassins, chessmen, cyanide, beetles, butterflies and Rumi. Revolving between Paris, London, Prague, India and Latin America, CODENAME: MADELEINE is a kaleidoscope of love, war, music, betrayal, poetry and resistance.
Throughout my life I have read so many WWII spy stories, both true and also fictional but I have been completely blown away by the debut Codename: Madeleine (Whitefox Publishing) by Barnaby Jameson which is based on the true story of Noor Inayat Khan a remarkable brave woman who became the first woman SOE agent to be dropped into occupied France during WWII.
What Barnaby Jameson has written is a deeply moving and compelling accounts of one of the most celebrated heroines of the last war. She was posthumously awarded both the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre in 1949. The story though begins much further back and her father Inayat Khan who was to become a celebrated concert musician and Inayat travels meets Ora and their own journey begins. On New Years Day 1914, Noor was born in Moscow and so her story begins but first they now must leave Russia and head for London as WWI breaks out as Inayat was a pacifist as his religion dictated.
As time went on Noor would go on to study music and play the harp. But now Europe was to be engulfed by war again as WWII breaks out and the family flees Paris and heads back to London where Noor goes on to join the WAAF and it is here she learns how to become a radio operator. But it is not long that she wants more and in 1941 she is recruited into the Special Operations Executive. (SOE). The story now moves to 1943 and Noor is parachuted into France, and this is where the story really becomes compelling and heartbreaking.
I don’t want to go on from here as it is a story, I would completely recommend to anyone. There are many characters in the story based on Noor’s life here in the book including those she trained with at the SOE as well as her family members. One thing I will say is that the bravery shown by Noor and many more who joined the SOE and sent to France is something that you cannot begin to imagine, the fear as the Gestapo were always watching and listening and you feared the net was about to close at any moment.
In 2019 a blue plaque was announced at her home in Bloomsbury, London, the address she left as she headed for France on her final fatal mission. The plaque was unveiled on 28th August 2020.
At just under 500 pages this is not a short story, but this is 500 pages that goes by so quickly. Codename: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson is highly recommended.
My thanks to Sofia Saghir (Midas PR) and Whitefox Publishing for the review Copy of Codename: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson Published on 28th July 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org
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