Author(s): Paul Kix
In the tradition of `Agent Zigzag' comes a breathtaking biography of WWII's `Scarlet Pimpernel' as fast-paced and emotionally intuitive as the best spy thrillers. This celebrates unsung hero Robert de La Rochefoucauld, an aristocrat turned anti-Nazi saboteur, and his exploits as a British Special Operations Executive-trained resistant
A scion of one of the most aristocratic families in France, Robert de La Rochefoucauld was raised in magnificent chateaux and educated in Europe's finest schools. When the Nazis invaded and imprisoned his father, La Rochefoucauld escaped to England and learned the dark arts of anarchy and combat - cracking safes and planting bombs and killing with his bare hands - from the officers of Special Operations Executive, the collection of British spies, beloved by Winston Churchill, who altered the war in Europe with tactics that earned it notoriety as the `Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.' With his newfound skills, La Rochefoucauld returned to France and organized Resistance cells, blew up fortified compounds and munitions factories, interfered with Germans' wartime missions, and executed Nazi officers. Caught by the Germans, La Rochefoucald withstood months of torture without cracking, and escaped his own death, not once but twice.
The Saboteur recounts La Rochefoucauld's enthralling adventures, from jumping from a moving truck on his way to his execution to stealing Nazi limos to dressing up in a nun's habit - one of his many disguises and impersonations. Whatever the mission, whatever the dire circumstance, de La Rochefoucauld acquitted himself nobly, with the straight-back aplomb of a man of aristocratic breeding: James Bond before Ian Fleming conjured him.
More than just a fast-paced, true thriller, The Saboteur is also a deep dive into an endlessly fascinating historical moment, telling the untold story of a network of commandos that battled evil, bravely working to change the course of history.
Paul Kix is a senior editor at ESPN Magazine, and has written for numerous publications from the Boston Globe to the Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.