Spunky Danes spy and fly beneath the radar of their Nazi occupiers.
Follett returns to WWII (Jackdaws, 2001, etc.), where his patriotic newsreel style may be an asset, setting the proper black-and-white tone for a tale about a schoolboy who sticks a spanner in the Germans’ early warning system. Harald Olufson is the mechanically gifted pastor’s son whose dream of studying under countryman Niels Bohr looks impossible after he’s booted from school for an anti-fascist prank. Harald’s hardshell father pulls the plug on university plans and apprentices the boy to a creepy haberdashery, where he is to ponder the error of his ways. But Harald ditches the handkerchiefs and speeds off on his peat-powered motorcycle to find work on a farm near the little castle where beautiful Jewish Karen Duchwitz, promising ballerina and twin sister of a schoolmate, lives with her very rich mum and dad. Karen has had a few flying sessions with Poul, a chum of Harald’s pilot brother Arne, but neither Karen nor Harald is aware that Poul is a member of the Danish resistance, organized from England by Arne’s fiancée Hermia. Hermia has been charged with finding out how the Germans have been able to render nearly useless the waves of bombers the English have been throwing against them. As it happens, Harald has the answer. He just doesn’t know how important it is. Taking a shortcut through a secret German installation on the way home one dark and stormy night, he noted the interesting combination of three radar antennas and deduced correctly that the krauts had invented an efficient warning system. Getting the secret out of Denmark will cost several lives and involve the evil Peter Flemming, a man with a deep-seated grudge against the Olufsons and a deeper-seated admiration for the Germans. It will also require Harald’s handyman skills to get the Duchwitz family’s plane out of storage and into the air.
Old fashioned derring-do done right.