The Girl Who Fell From the Sky – Simon Mawer
A scintillating tale of espionage in German occupied France.
This is the eagerly awaited follow up to the booker shortlisted ‘Glass Room’, set in Britain and then France during the German occupation in WW2. The protagonist is one Marian Sutro, aliases Alice, Anne-Marie Larouche and Lawrence, and her journey is a profound one from innocent young woman to cunning spy always looking over her shoulder. Yet there are larger concerns for Marian then simply becoming a spy (this in itself, however, is no small feat), she has been sent to bring home one of France’s top scientists to help other expats work on the theory of an atomic bomb. The fact that this man is also her childhood sweetheart, newly married and with a child, simply adds to the atmosphere of intrigue Mawer has created.
We follow Marian from her beginnings being plucked from the Women’s army, through her training and onto the frontline. One the way Mawer takes advantage of the world her is working within to have Marian learn everything from blowing up a bridge to encrypting a letter. I found this to be an unflinching look at the lengths people will go to in a time of war. Mawer poses the question, how far would any of us go? Who would be become, in the right, or wrong, circumstances? As is to be expected from a writer of Mawer’s talents, this was a really entertaining and thouroughly authentic read.