Nancy Wake Secret Agent

Nancy Wake Secret Agent

Short Books


January 2006

All too often history can be dry as dust, a collection of facts and figures, diagrams of battlefields and characters so foolhardy, brave or saintly that they belong on plinths.
This book tells is the tale of Nancy Wake, one of a select band of female spies parachuted into occupied Europe during the Second World War.
The facts are all there but so too is the humanity and the cost of the Australian’s bravery in taking on the Nazi regime in her adopted homeland, France. This is history told in real time as a story, with conversations and characters that live off the page.
Wake ran away from home at 16, left Australia soon after and blagged a job as a journalist in Paris at an age when most of us have still not left college. While in Paris she fell for well-to-do French businessman Henri Fiocca and married him in 1939.
So far, so fairy tale but as we all know it wouldn’t last. The war was coming and everyone would be asked some difficult moral questions, keep your head down or resist.
Wake was naturally drawn to the path of most resistance particularly as she had been to Austria and she knew what the Nazis were doing to Jews. Now based in Marseille she became involved in the resistance, helping British soldiers escape. Eventually, however, it became too risky and she had to flee.
Once in England she joined the Special Operations Executive and was sent to central France as a secret agent to organise parachute drops for the resistance.
The tale ends sadly at the end of the war when she returns to Marseille to try and track down her husband. Tragically her involvement with the resistance made him a target for the Gestapo and torture.
This is a great yarn made all the more engaging because it is history. You probably wouldn’t believe it if it was fiction.

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