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Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy Hardcover – 24 Jan 2019
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"Code Name: Lise is impossible to put down. Suffused with romance, told with a novelist’s eye for page-turning thrills and the historian’s acumen for facts, Loftis brings to colorful life a hero for our time, Odette Sansom. Like Unbroken and Code Girls, Odette Sansom’s story is epic, intensely personal, emotionally rich, and hard to forget.”
—Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of 12 Strong and In Harm’s Way
"An astonishing story of love, survival, and almost unimaginable courage. Code Name: Lise is non-fiction that reads like a thriller and will keep readers riveted."
—Tilar Mazzeo, New York Times bestselling author of Irena’s Children
"A true-life thriller...page-turner...Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger...A vivid history of wartime heroism."
“Code Name: Lise is a grand adventure, part thriller, part love story, and full of wonderful details about the tradecraft of wartime espionage and the bravery of unsung heroes. A remarkable achievement that does honor to its subject. I hope someone takes it to the big screen as it has everything.”
—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of The Switch and Judgment
"Larry has a knack for finding untold stories that read more like fiction than fact, and he's done it again with Code Name: Lise. Having grown up reading about the Jedburgh teams - the forerunners of US Special Forces - I found the story riveting, not the least because it's true, and Larry's relentless research makes Odette Sansom's heroics leap off the page, putting her in the pantheon of our own Special Forces heroes."
—Brad Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of Daughter of War
“Loftis delivers a tale of courage, daring, valor—and love—for the ages. Code Name: Lise is the closest history comes to a romance novel.”
—Elizabeth Cobbs, New York Times bestselling author of The Hamilton Affair
“Larry Loftis brings the past to life with a brilliantly researched and executed tale of one woman's unparalleled heroism in occupied France during World War II. A riveting true story of love, betrayal and sacrifice, as engaging as any thriller, and not to be missed.”
—Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Mission Critical
"If ever there was a lesson on the impact of one great revolt, this is it. Even the dreaded Gestapo couldn't stop it."
—Salena Zito, bestselling author of The Great Revolt
"As one who has seen combat up close and personal, I can say that what Odette and Peter Churchill went through is on another level. Heroism you'll never forget."
—Sean Parnell, New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon and Man of War
“Larry Loftis has crafted a true thriller, a highly entertaining account of the most highly decorated spy of WW2. A great read.”
–Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The First Wave and Avenue of Spies
PRAISE FOR INTO THE LION'S MOUTH
"Gripping ... This one will keep you planted in your reading chair from start to finish."
—Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"A work of non-fiction that's more thriller than biography."
"A sensational book, telling a remarkable true story that few know, even those in the intelligence business. Written in the style of the best spy thrillers, the book is impossible to put down."
—Michael Morell, CIA Director (acting 2011, 2012-13)
About the Author
Larry Loftis is the international bestselling author of the nonfiction spy thriller, Into the Lion's Mouth: The True Story of Dusko Popov—World War II Spy, Patriot, and the Real-Life Inspiration for James Bond, which has been translated into multiple languages around the world. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Mr. Loftis was a corporate attorney and adjunct professor of law. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and at LarryLoftis.com.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Odette is alone in Arles, France on Christmas eve 1942 and joins a group of German officers at their hotel. After a feast of cake and several bottles of Cote du Rhone she persuades the Germans to move a piano upstairs where the sounds can be enjoyed by a greater number of hotel guests. Not exactly a bit of spy craft but it does attest to Odette’s cleverness.
Peter, Odette and several compatriots are captured by Nazis and taken by train to one of Germany’s infamous prison camps. Odette is subjected to some torture that even made me cringe but she would not reveal any military secrets. Peter and Odette begin to have romantic feelings about each other during this period and told their captors that they were married even though they were not. Because of Peter’s last name, the Nazis believed that they had caught a relative of the British Prime Minister; neither Peter nor Odette tried to tell them otherwise. The Nazis sent an offer to England and offer a trade: we’ll give you Peter Churchill in exchange for Rudolf Hess. England, however, would not agree to the switch.
Both Peter and Odette survive the war, are released from prison and travel to England where they eventually marry. Because of her heroism during the war, Odette is selected to receive an award. In a large ceremony the George Cross is presented to her by none other than King George VI, the only woman being honored along with 249 men.
Photographs, reference notes and the author’s commentary are provided. This is an inspiring book of non-fiction that reads like a exciting and tension-filled novel.
'Code Name: Lise' worked for the SPINDLE Circuit (Special Operations Executive) or SOE as it is referred to in this book. She was born in France but moved to England at an early age. Odette was her name at birth.
The entire time I was reading this true story, my admiration for her grew. From her recruitment into SOE and the training, her determination to succeed illustrated her true spirit. And, of course, I kept wondering what created her motivation? Despite numerous serious health problems at an early age, she persevered. And, persevered with an open mind and spirit.
The depth of the training was intense and was divided into 4 phases. And, it should be noted that 80% of the trainees were disqualified. Not one area was left out....physical, explosives, weapons, ciphers, killing and even included grenades and machine guns. These agents were trained to the maximum and trust me, without this intense training, some would have not survived.
Finally in early 1943, she was on her way and SPINDLE was set. Her commanding officer was Peter Churchill and the mission was in Marseilles, France. The beginning of the spy portion in this book.
For me, some items really stood out including the rationing of food during the war. Also, on a personal note my Dad was in WW II aboard an aircraft carrier and he had told me years ago that the radio equipment was so heavy. In this book, the radio operator was tasked with carrying the equipment to different locations to avoid detection. As one may surmise, these operators were truly sought after as they had knowledge of many items the other side was extremely interested in.
The treatment of the prisoners in the prisons and in the Concentration Camps was just plain horrific. The Gestapo had interrogation fine-tuned to extract the most information. I have never read more details about the interrogation techniques than in this book. And, this is when I had to take frequent breaks...excruciating is the word that comes to mind but really torture at its finest...ouch...
Some better moments occurred, however, with the selfless priest, Father Steinert. Thank God, for people of his caliber... Truly a saint put into the cloak of a priest at the right time for the prisoners.
And, I also kept wondering where in the world did Odette get her intestinal fortitude to carry on? Where does courage come from? And, why did she join in the SOE in the first place?
The author has a most interesting Appendix that explains the awards (including the George Cross) given to Odette and Peter were not without a lot of controversy. And, controversy that continued for many years.
Truly an educational read for me...especially the portions on the training aspect for SOE, the treatment of the prisoners by the Gestapo, and the manner in which the missions were carried out.
Most highly recommended...
The first of the book focuses on other people's incompetence and on various mishaps. You come away thinking that this woman has a lot of respect from people but did kind of bumble through her work. I doubt that that's the reality.
Amazon, please recommend more books about women doing things well. I don't want to read about mistreatment and misadventures. Thanks.