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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent historical thriller
This was my first Ken Follett's book and I could not put it down. It is basically the story of a group of women wanting to do their bit for the war. Nothing is straightforward in this story, it can be amusing at times but also very emotional. The atmosphere of the resistance is very well rendered, the pace of the book is excellent and never is the reader bored. It also...
Published on 6 Jan 2004

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best
I love Ken Follett books and have always enjoyed them. Jackdaws starts off briskly and soon draws you in to the story, but about half way through, it all seems to get a bit predictable and for want of a better word, the story gets "rushed". Not much suspense here with none of the surprising twists of some of his other books - all in all its not a bad read, but I was left...
Published on 30 May 2011 by P. M. A.


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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent historical thriller, 6 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Jackdaws (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first Ken Follett's book and I could not put it down. It is basically the story of a group of women wanting to do their bit for the war. Nothing is straightforward in this story, it can be amusing at times but also very emotional. The atmosphere of the resistance is very well rendered, the pace of the book is excellent and never is the reader bored. It also has psychological qualities, the characters especially Major Dieter Frank is full of contradictions. This shows that whether one is French, German or English, one is a human being.The research is well done and the reader is made to participate to the mission in whichever character he/she might want to identify.
I cannot wait to read more from this author.
A French reader
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping tale of WW2 action in Nazi occupied northern France, 17 Nov 2002
This review is from: Jackdaws (Paperback)
This is the first book I have read by the author Ken Follet. I have always had an interest in WW2 history, which was one of the reasons why I was attracted to this book.
It is an excellent story about a team of all female SOE spies sent by England, in the lead up to the D Day invasion, to blow up a vital communication exchange in Nazi occupied France. Although it is not actually based on any fact, the authors style makes it seem as though the events actually took place.
In the past, I have read lots of hardened crime thrillers so was not adverse to gory descriptions of death or violence. However, I could not stop my stomach from turning, as the author described some of the torture techniques used by the German Gestapo. I could not help but feel respect and humbleness for the people that were actually subjected to torture a thousand times worse during WW2.
This all added to making the story much more readable and in my opinion compelling, but also made me reflex on just how senseless war can be, but unavoidable in certain circumstances.
I was eagerly awaiting the chance to read the next chapter in order to find out whether the girls would get away with the operation and escape with their lives. My only criticism was the ending, which was short and swift, as is often the case with many books. It’s as though authors have spent many months working on building up a great story, only to rush the end through to get the book to publication. I often favor authors who provide a chapter as an epilogue, to wind down after the action has subsided.
Having said this, I highly recommend this book and will now be buying others by this excellent author.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling WW2 adventure, 23 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Jackdaws (Hardcover)
An exciting and very interesting story about an all-female SOE team with a daring mission to disable a key German communication centre in France on the eve of D-day. The team leader is the determined Flick Clairet who has to battle good old-fashioned sexism as well as the Gestapo to achieve her goal. The book has come out at just the right time with so much publicity about the role of female agents in WW2 with the release of the film 'Charlotte Gray'. Ken Follett has really done his homework and 'Jackdaws' takes you into the lives of agents, the Resistance, and the German soldiers and Gestapo. Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Is the Follett I Remember, 7 Nov 2002
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jackdaws (Hardcover)
One of the earliest books in this genre that I read was the, "Eye Of The Needle". The author has since ranged widely amongst a variety of subjects, however with, "Jackdaws", Mr. Follett returns to World War II just prior to the Invasion of Normandy. And like his previous efforts with this historical setting it is very well done, and will bring fond memories to those readers who were waiting for him to turn his pen once again to this theme.

The book is a substantial work offering readers well over 400 pages of taught writing that unfolds over a little more than a week prior to D-Day. Like all books of this event it contains heroes; however they play against the background here, as a heroine takes charge of the story as well as the events in the book. The book begins with a notation that states that 50 women worked as secret agents in France for The Special Executive during the war. The book never seems to reach the moniker of historical fiction, although comments at the end strongly insinuate there was a real woman who, at the very least provided the inspiration for the heroine, "Flick". The women who volunteered to serve behind enemy lines in occupied France, and repeatedly traveled back and forth across The Channel during the war were clearly remarkable women, and were as fearless as any of their male counterparts.

This novel is a bit scattered in its tone. The changes in the mood of the book work well as a whole, however they can seem a bit jarring and out of place as the book is read. If very graphic descriptions of the most brutal interrogation of both men and women are an issue, several areas of this book will be troublesome to read. I don't feel the length to which Mr. Follett took the level of detail was necessary, he is a wonderful writer, and many of these dungeon settings with their attendant horrors struck me as gratuitous. The main event of the book will either work well for a reader, or will be dismissed as being far too improbable. Mr. Follett increases the likelihood of the latter response as the team that is selected is from a practical standpoint untrained but for Flick, and their conduct is so outrageous it tests the reader's ability to suspend disbelief. There are always amazing true stories conducted by a group that should have a near zero chance of prevailing, however Mr. Follett takes the group a step further by making them all fairly dysfunctional as individuals. This is a bit like the stories of a group of jailed soldiers being granted a chance at redemption. The difference is they are at least soldiers, again with the exception of Flick, the group ranges as far as a member who can be likened to Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria, albeit reversed.

As odd as it may sound in conclusion I did very much enjoy the book. The only rationale I can offer is that the Heroine Flick was a wonderful character, beautifully written, and as competent as any Special Forces Operative. So while there may be bits that will make a reader wince with incredulity, read on. This is very much a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!, 5 Jan 2010
By 
H. Barratt (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jackdaws (Paperback)
I bought this 'on spec' having never read any of Ken Follett's novels before. However, I was drawn to it as it is largely set around Reims in France, an area I love. Briefly, the main character Flick is an operative with SOE during the final days of World War 2, when D-day is looming. She is charged with destroying a key German communications centre, with the aim of disrupting the Nazis' response to the Allied invasion.

I won't give too much more away, and some may argue it's a predictable yarn, but I loved it. The action is pretty fast paced and Follett creates an evocative picture of wartime France. I couldn't put it down and read it in 24 hours over Christmas, much to the frustration of my family!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner, 15 April 2012
By 
Robin Webster "Robin" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jackdaws (Kindle Edition)
Jackdaws is the stoy a young female British secret agent in WW11 called Flick, who parachutes into France with a team of five female agents in order to carry out a daring raid on a Nazi communictions centre. I have to admit to being a big fan of books about 'The Special Operations Executive (SOE) who were the main players in WW11 to carry out this type of mission and Ken Follett as usual proves to be an expert in historic detail. However, this is not just a book for (SOE) fans this is a book for anyone who enjoys a fast paced action adventure novel that is packed with excitment right up to the last page. I have no trouble giving this book 5 stars.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Follett has returned at the top of his form., 18 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Jackdaws (Hardcover)
Follett has always been one of my favorite authors. I began reading his books with The Eye of the Needle and looked forward to everything after that. There was a time where I detected personal political convictions taking over his writing, and his books lost the page-turning edge that they had always had for me. Code to Zero began the return to the top of his form. He has returned with the exciting Jackdaws. The strong female character, Flick, makes this a book for women in the 21st century. And for the men, there is lots of action. A very good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Ken Follett Masterpiece, 23 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Jackdaws (Kindle Edition)
I've not been a great reader for a few years. A 4 week work trip to Dubai in June had me reading 3 of Ken Follett's books back to back. I'm back out here for another 4 weeks and thought I'd give Jackdaws a try.

So, 4 days later and I'm finished.

Like the other Follett books, this one has had me keeping stupid hours and surviving on 3 or 4 hours sleep because I just couldn't put it down. You really 'know' the characters after a few pages and, like someone else said, Franke makes you see a different side to the Germans in WW11. You'll sympathise with him, hate him and root for him. Likewise with Flick. She shows a ruthless streak that you can't help condemn.

I've just finished the book this morning and fully understand the expression 'heart in my mouth'. Totally and utterly gripping. My only complaint is that it's only about half the length of the other books I've read. But that's only because I really did t want the book to end. When you finish a book and you feel that sense of loss or grief then you know it's been a cracker!

So, 3 weeks left over here and I need a few more. I am confident now that I could pick any Ken Follett book at random and not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great escapist fiction, 12 Jun 2014
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Jackdaws (Kindle Edition)
Ken Follett writes excellent escapist fiction and Jackdaws is no exception. Brave secret agents, in this story predominantly female, undertake a mission in occupied France. It coincides with British D Day plans, so the timeline made it interesting to read this month. The characters are typically gung-ho, from a range of backgrounds, upper class to convicted criminals, thrown together by the vagaries of a wartime mission.

Ken Follett's books create a time and place and draw the reader in to the events. There's the Chateau, which doubles as local Gestapo HQ, the SS General, reporting to Rommel, who despises the Gestapo, the French Resistance Leader and team, a Major leading a female team to destroy a key target and various officials from British and American Government. These characters are a great mix for a fast paced story where a small team works against the clock and every adversity possible to achieve a mission success. I was immersed over a couple of days and it kept my attention from start to finish, so a light but rewarding read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best, 30 May 2011
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This review is from: Jackdaws (Kindle Edition)
I love Ken Follett books and have always enjoyed them. Jackdaws starts off briskly and soon draws you in to the story, but about half way through, it all seems to get a bit predictable and for want of a better word, the story gets "rushed". Not much suspense here with none of the surprising twists of some of his other books - all in all its not a bad read, but I was left feeling a bit disappointed and felt there could have been much more to this story, hence only 3 stars, certainly not one of his best.
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Jackdaws
Jackdaws by Ken Follett (Mass Market Paperback - Dec 2002)
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