The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

  • by Simon Mawer
  • Narrated by Anna Bentinck
  • 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The wonderful new novel from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author of The Glass Room is both a gripping adventure story and a moving meditation on patriotism, betrayal and the limits of love.
Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, half French, half British, naive yet too clever for her own good. But when she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems her hybrid status - and fluent French - will be of service to a greater, more dangerous cause. Trained in sabotage, dead-drops, how to perform under interrogation, and how to kill, Marian parachutes into southwest France with an urgent mission....


What the Critics Say

"The Girl Who Fell from the Sky comes from a long and glorious tradition of spy novels that you just can't put down. It's taut fiction at it's best." (Stylist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A great thriller, but also beautifully written

Marian Sutro is bilingual and is recruited by the Special Ops unit in the Second World War to be trained to be a French agent. The novel follows her through this period and into France as she pursues her 'special mission'. I couldn't stop listening to this book - it has a great plot, which keeps you wondering what happens next and really getting involved in Marian's fate. Further though, this is not just a good thriller, the writing is at times absolutely beautiful, and some descriptions will stay with me for a long time.

The narration is also beautifully done, with each character having their own distinctive voice. I thoroughly recommend.
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- Jill "I'm an avid reader and my choice of books is pretty eclectic. The heavier stuff I still read, but I love audible books for lighter stuff!"

A stifling sense of mounting dread

The fictional character of Marian Sutro is based on several real-life Special Operations Executive (SOE) agents.

Like "Anette", she is given a powder compact by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster before leaving for France, works on the WHEELWRIGHT circuit based on Toulouse, and gets her face on "Wanted" posters. Like "Colette" she has grown up in Geneva, the daughter of a League of Nations diplomat, and falls in love with a fellow agent who is parachuted down with her. Like "Odette" she enlists in the egregiously named FANY (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry). Unlike any of her real-life counterparts she is sent on a highly prejudicial mission which trumps her work for the Maquis: to bring out Clement, a French atomic scientist, a family friend with whom she became infatuated whilst still at convent school.

This is high romance though, not "faction". It tells how a sweet young thing is transformed into a ruthless terrorist and efficient killer, and how she discovers she's both tool and victim of a cause so tremendous and horrifying in its implications as to submerge brotherly love beneath national duty.

There's maybe a bit too much nuclear physics gone-into. Would her brother Ned, working on the British atom bomb project, really have plunged into all that theory to deflect her accusation of having used her as a pawn, indeed as bait? All the reader needs is the realisation which made Prof James Chadwick take to needing sleeping pills: the inevitability of one side or the other developing a bomb to obliterate an entire city in an instant.

This is scant criticism beside the novel's achievement in bringing into sharp focus a once-brilliant and cultured city reduced to a drab world of arrogant, ogling troops, intrusive police and cowed natives. A stifling sense of mounting dread is sustained, worthy of Dickens in "A Tale Of Two Cities": you feel yourself living the fearful, furtive existence of a spy. And, like a rifle bullet, you'll never hear the end coming till it hits you.
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- I. A. Clark "holey stone"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-05-2012
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks