Review: Night Flight To Paris – David Gilman

My version: Hardback
Genre: Historical Fiction Second World War, espionage
Head of Zeus
First published: 2018
Pages: 486
Bought, signed

From the cover:
Paris, 1943
The swastika flies from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Soldiers clad in field grey patrol the streets. Buildings have been renamed, books banned, art stolen and people disappeared. Amongst the missing is an Allied intelligence cell.
Gone to ground? Betrayed? Dead? Britain’s Special Operations Executive need to find out. They recruit ex-Parisian and Bletchley Park codebreaker Harry Mitchell to return to the city he fled two years ago.
Mitchell knows Occupied Paris – a city at war with itself. Informers, gangsters, collaborators and Resistance factions are as ready to slit each other’s throats as they are the Germans.’ The occupiers themselves are no better: the Gestapo and the Abwehr – military intelligence – are locked in their own lethal battle for dominance. Mitchell knows the risks: a return to Paris is not a mission – it’s a death sentence.
But he has good reason to put his life on the line: the wife and daughter he was forced to leave behind have fallen into the hands of the Gestapo. This is Mitchell’s only chance to save them. But with disaster afflicting his mission from the outset, it will take all his ingenuity, all his courage, to get into Paris… unaware that every step he takes towards the capital is a step closer to a trap well set and baited.

Yeah, this one was pretty good alright, without ever really rising to the heights indicated above or in some on-line blurb I happened across once. It was all a bit nice, really, I won’t say ‘by the fireside’ nice, maybe a little more edge to it than that – as there are some sequences that do his home, especially (obviously) surrounding Mitchell’s wife and daughter’s ‘treatment’ by the Gestapo.

We are with the character Mitchell, as he progresses from being a Bletchley Park codebreaker, to being Richard Burton from Where Eagles Dare, or Clint Eastwood. All I’m saying is that for a codebreaker with minimal SAS-type training, his transition to all-round action-man, as though he had always been an all-round action-man, did feel a little quick. A little too quick to adapt him to the undercover resourceful needs of the story, with nary a glance back, acknowlegement of, whence he came.

There’s nothing wrong with it, and if you are into period-pieces like ‘Our Friends In Berlin,’ then you will thoroughly enjoy Night Flight, it’s just that I felt like the tensionometer could have been ratcheted up a notch or two. Maybe that’s because I’ve read a lot of Non-Fiction from this period, I don’t know.

You can buy Night Flight To Paris from The Book Depository

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.