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DETACHMENT W [Paperback]

DEREK RICHARDSON
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Dec 2004
In the chaos that followed the fall of France in 1940 many hundreds of British soldiers escaped from their German captors - or evaded capture altogether - and were helped to reach the unoccupied south of France. Here, however, they were rounded up by the French auhtorities who were forced to detain them under Article 10 of the 1940 Armistice Convention. They were joined in 1941 and 1942 by dozens of RAF airmen who had bailed out or force-landed in France. The French authorities named them 'Detachment W'.

Gradually, there grew up a clandestine escape network with the object of helping men to leave France and return to Britain. This book records how the French military tried, with only limited success, to prevent escapes by moving the Detachment to more and more secure places of internment.

As well as talking to veterans and studying the relevant War Office and Foreign Office files, the author also found hitherto unpublished information on the subject in archives in Edinburgh, in Washington DC, in Bern, Switzerland, and in Paris. What he learned is told revealingly in this book.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: PAUL MOULD PUBLISHING (1 Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904959008
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904959007
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 15 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,210,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

A well-researched paperback... very well written and presented, in fact a book of consuming interest. -- The Highland Fieldcraft Training Centre Newsletter

From the Publisher

A sequel to Housecarl, Laurence J Brown's acclaimed account of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Cold Heart, Cruel Hand follows the adventures of Ranulf Redbeard as he fights alongside Hereward the Wake in a final bloody stand on the Isle of Ely.

Laughton Swanney, an Amazon customer from Lincolnshire:
An epic tale of love and war under the heel of the Normans - 5 stars

I loved Mr Brown's first book. It is an amazing portrayal of life and war in and around the time of the Norman Invasion in 1066.

It is an old saying that the second book is harder to write than the first but this does not appear to be the case with Mr Brown. His writing style has soared in confidence in his portrayal of life after the Norman Invasion. This is a novel which takes you along at pace.You will visualise it so clearly it would be criminal not to turn it into a film for those who are not so keen on reading as the rest of us. It would be a film with the potential of Braveheart.

The book itself is deeply oppressive detailing the harshness of life under the Normans. The brutality is endemic and the drudgery of life for the Saxons is starkly highlighted. In Hereward's camp the players act out their lives in the cetainty that the Norman killing machine will eventually seek them out and destroy them as the last pocket of resistance.

The story is underlain with a forlorn but nonetheless dogged determination not to give in to the enemy. It is that indomitable spirit that makes the British what they are- the very essence of guts and courage.

Oh! And in a book full of bad guys there is one character who truly drips evil. He makes your flesh crawl. You can feel the poison ooze out of the pages and his vindictive atmosphere pervades the whole story. I kept looking round to make sure he wasn't behind me!

This naked malice is in stark contrast to a father's love for his son and his desperate race to find him and reunite his family.

I can thoroughly recommend this novel to you and I will use that hackneyed cliché - It truly is a book you won't be able to put down. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars L J Brown has done it again...... 10 Oct 2004
By S. Shaw
Format:Paperback
I was so pleased that my friend recommended LJ Brown's first book "Housecarl" to me, as it really opened my eyes to historical novels. These were not the type of books I thought I would enjoy. Boy was I wrong.
LJB's first novel was so descriptive in content and so thought provoking, it left me hungry for more. I have since become a big fan of these types of books and have constantly looked out for more work by LJB. Well, the wait is finally over, Cold Heart, Cruel Hand is on the shelves, and doesn't dissapoint.
Ranulf, with his wife and son, have joined up with Hereward the Wake on a small island in the Fens. This small army of Saxons is the last pocket of resistence against William the Conquerer, the last hope against norman rule. Friends of Ranulfs that were present in Housecarl, once again join forces to aide this small army. The odds are stacked heavily against them, but every man has their own reasons for loathing King William, and all are willing to fight for their freedom from Norman rule, or pay the ultimate price trying.
Equally, King William needs to destroy Hereward the Wake and his small army of Saxons, and thus prove his ultimate power over England. If it were just a matter of strength, then William could crush this army like a bug, but first he must find a way to get to the enemy. Not an easy task, as the Conquerer finds out at a great cost.

The battle scenes are once again written with such detail that you feel as if you are there witnessing the events as they happen. The book is full of twists and turns that find you holding your breath in places, anticipating how things will end, and finding another turn that takes you in another direction. There are evil foes that Ranulf has to endure, and freinds in unexpected quarters.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I loved Mr Brown's first book. It is an amazing portrayal of life and war in and around the time of the Norman Invasion in 1066.
It is an old saying that the second book is harder to write than the first but this does not appear to be the case with Mr Brown. His writing style has soared in confidence in his portrayal of life after the Norman Invasion. This is a novel which takes you along at pace.You will visualise it so clearly it would be criminal not to turn it into a film for those who are not so keen on reading as the rest of us. It would be a film with the potential of Braveheart.
The book itself is deeply oppressive detailing the harshness of life under the Normans. The brutality is endemic and the drudgery of life for the Saxons is starkly highlighted. In Hereward's camp the players act out their lives in the cetainty that the Norman killing machine will eventually seek them out and destroy them as the last pocket of resistance.
The story is underlain with a forlorn but nonetheless dogged determination not to give in to the enemy. It is that indomitable spirit that makes the British what they are- the very essence of guts and courage.
Oh! And in a book full of bad guys there is one character who truly drips evil. He makes your flesh crawl. You can feel the poison ooze out of the pages and his vindictive atmosphere pervades the whole story. I kept looking round to make sure he wasn't behind me!
This naked malice is in stark contrast to a father's love for his son and his desperate race to find him and reunite his family.
I can thoroughly recommend this novel to you and I will use that hackneyed cliché - It truly is a book you won't be able to put down.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another author's view 13 July 2005
Format:Paperback
Cold Heart, Cruel Hand Laurence J Brown, Paul Mould Publishing 2004, ISBN 09528708-9-4
Ranulf Redbeard rides again! This time the sole survivor of King Harold's Huscarls finds himself fighting alongside Hereward the Wake. There have been many takes on Hereward's story with every author striving to understand this complex man who became one of England's first folk heroes. Author Laurence Brown, with his vivid style and enthusiasm, sticks quite close to the story as written down in the primary source De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis, even to the extent of using the Latinised names for some of the English resistance fighters. Again there are problems with the finer points of detailed research but, as with Housecarl, you can easily put this to one side and enjoy getting swept along in the high adventure.
The book ends with the fall of Ely and the Cap of Refuge to the Normans. The question now is; where will Ranulf Redbeard go next? Hereward carried on his fight for several more years after Ely fell, but many of his comrades left England to emigrate to Constantinople and joining the Varangian Guard. Now isn't that an idea for the next book! Though maybe he will join Earl Waeltheof in his many adventures? Hmm, I'll just have to wait and see won't I!
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Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is the story of Hereward the Wake, the last leader of the resistance against William the Conqueror. He has been stripped of his rightful lands and title by the Bastard. He continues to fight against him and seems to constantly outwit the Normans on his island of Ely in the Fens of East Anglia. He has plenty of help especially when Earl Mortar and Ranulf Redbeard join his cause.

There are many subplots going on behind the scenes and it makes the storyline that much more intriguing. There were many typos, including grammatical, spelling, editing errors but withstanding those the novel was very riveting. I would suggest if this author does any more writing he find better proofreaders & editors, etc.

While this story is based on fact it is historical "fiction." I too noticed the errors of Odo, the Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent, and Robert of Mortain being described as King William's "cousins" while they were in fact his half-brothers. I'm not sure if the author did this deliberately or not.

However, it is still very much a worthwhile read and a genuine page-turner. I recommend it to anyone interested in this time period. Two other excellent novels of Hereward the Wake are "An Endless Exile" by Mary Lancaster & "Green Saxon Darkness" by Pamela Cottrel.
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