Ike’s personal PI, Captain Billy Boyle, is shipped first to Crete, there to recover an SOE agent so as to airfreight them both into southern France, with help from the Allies (although DeGaulle will never let it be said that France didn’t liberate itself, oh no). There they are to hook up with the OSS and hunt down French collaborators.
The problem is that the maquis, both those of conviction and those of convenience, each have their own agendas and start by killing one in Billy’s company. Off he and Kaz and Big Mike go in pursuit of the murderers before they can add to their tally of dead, which in the middle of a world war is a pretty good trick if you can manage it. They can’t. Trying to keep track of the disparate factions all with their own axes to grind in France during WWII is nearly impossible but Benn gives it his best try and succeeds pretty well. As usual in Benn’s war, real people pop up everywhere, including Ernest Hemingway’s son, Jack, who proves to Billy to be a lot easier to take than his dad was in a previous book.
The climax of the narrative takes Billy & Co. to the 442nd Nisei Regimental Combat Team’s rescue of the Lost Battalion under the leadership, if you can call it that, of General Dahlquist. As always, the author’s notes at the end are as interesting as the book itself. Good read, although be warned, the scene of the awarding of the 442nd’s Presidential Unit Citation will haunt you.
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