"Odette: The Story of a British Agent is perhaps the most moving of all records of war heroism. In 1942 a young Frenchwoman living in Somerset with her three little girls answered a broadcast appeal for holiday photographs to be sent to the War Office. She was invited to London for an interview, and a startling proposition was put to her. Reluctantly she accepted it. In a few months she had been trained as a British agent and, under the name of 'Celine', infiltrated into Southern France. Her run there was short but lively. She worked with the Resistance Movement, organising sabotage and the reception of parachuted agents and supplies. After six months the Germans arrested her with her commanding officer, known as 'Raoul'. So began her long ordeal in prison and concentration-camp. The Gestapo put certain questions to her; she had nothing to say, even after they had pulled out all her toenails. But her replies on other matters were such as to draw suspicion from her Commanding Officer to herself. The Gestapo condemned her to death, but did not kill her. After a year in a Parisian prison she was moved to the infamous concentration-camp at Ravensbruck. There she was buried for three months in total darkness, and witnessed the mass execution of her fellow-prisoners in the spring of 1945. To save his skin, the Camp Commandant took her with him to meet the advancing Americans. So Odette Sansom lived to receive her George Cross, the highest British decoration for gallantry that can be awarded to a woman. She also holds the M.B.E. and the French Legion d'Honneur. In 1947 she became the wife of her 'chief', Captain Peter Churchill, D.S.O., M.C.
"Absorbing, interesting, continuously exciting, and often extremely moving. It is after Odette was captured by the Germans that this tale rises to the heroic, and when I use the word 'heroic' I use it for Antigone. Nobody who claims to be living rather than existing in this crucial time of ours can afford not to read this book." - Compton Mackenzie
"I confess I could not lay it down. The story of what Odette endured makes the most moving narrative of all the war memoirs I have read." - John Gordon in Sunday Express
Odette's story, as told to a popular novelist - Mr Tickell - of her time in SOE during the Second World War