World War II Fiction


Novels set during the World War II years, 1939-1945.


Jackdaws

Ken Follett

D-Day is approaching. They don’t know where or when, but the Germans know it’ll be soon, and for Felicity “Flick” Clariet, the stakes have never been higher. A senior agent in the ranks of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) responsible for sabotage, Flick has survived to become one of Britain’s most effective operatives in Northern France. She knows that the Germans’ ability to thwart the Allied attack depends upon their lines of communications, and in the days before the invasion no target is of greater strategic importance than the largest telephone exchange in Europe. But when Flick and her Resistance-leader husband try a direct, head-on assault that goes horribly wrong, her world turns upside down. Her group destroyed, her husband missing, her superiors unsure of her, her own confidence badly shaken, she has one last chance at the target, but the challenge, once daunting, is now near impossible. The new plan requires an all-woman team, none of them professionals, to be assembled and trained within days. Code-named the Jackdaws, they will attempt to infiltrate the exchange under the noses of the Germans—but the Germans are waiting for them now and have plans of their own. There are secrets Flick does not know—secrets within the German ranks, secrets among her hastily recruited team, secrets among those she trusts the most. And as the hours tick down to the point of no return, most daunting of all, there are secrets within herself. . .

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Resistance Women

Jennifer Chiaverini

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate. As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime. For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

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Dragonfly

Leila Meacham

At the height of World War II, a handful of idealistic young Americans receive a mysterious letter from the government, asking them if they are willing to fight for their country. The men and women from very different backgrounds -- a Texan athlete with German roots, an upper-crust son of a French mother and a wealthy businessman, a dirt-poor Midwestern fly fisherman, an orphaned fashion designer, and a ravishingly beautiful female fencer -- all answer the call of duty, but each for a secret reason of her or his own. They bond immediately, in a group code-named Dragonfly. Thus begins a dramatic cat-and-mouse game, as the group seeks to stay under the radar until a fatal misstep leads to the capture and the firing-squad execution of one of their team. But is everything as it seems, or is this one more elaborate act of spycraft?

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Shame and the Captives

Thomas Keneally

Alice is living on her father-in-law s farm on the edge of an Australian country town, while her husband is held prisoner in Europe. When Giancarlo, an Italian inmate at the prisoner-of-war camp down the road, is assigned to work on the farm, she hopes that being kind to him will somehow influence her husband s treatment. What she doesn t anticipate is how dramatically Giancarlo will change the way she understands both herself and the wider world. What most challenges Alice and her fellow townspeople is the utter foreignness of the thousand-plus Japanese inmates and their deeply held code of honor, which the camp commanders fatally misread. Mortified by being taken alive in battle and preferring a violent death to the shame of living, the Japanese prisoners plan an outbreak with shattering and far-reaching consequences for all the citizens around them.

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The Fifth Column

Andrew Gross

February, 1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. In New York City, twenty-two thousand cheering Nazi supporters pack Madison Square Garden for a raucous, hate-filled rally. In a Hell’s Kitchen bar, Charles Mossman is reeling from the loss of his job and the demise of his marriage when a group draped in Nazi flags barges in. Drunk, Charlie takes a swing at one with tragic results and a torrent of unintended consequences follows. Two years later. America is wrestling with whether to enter the growing war. Charles’s estranged wife and six-year-old daughter, Emma, now live in a quiet brownstone in the German-speaking New York City neighborhood of Yorkville, where support for Hitler is common. Charles, just out of prison, struggles to put his life back together, while across the hall from his family, a kindly Swiss couple, Trudi and Willi Bauer, have taken a liking to Emma. But Charles begins to suspect that they might not be who they say they are. As the threat of war grows, and fears of a “fifth column”—German spies embedded into everyday life—are everywhere, Charles puts together that the seemingly amiable Bauers may be part of a sinister conspiracy. When Pearl Harbor is attacked and America can no longer sit on the sideline, that conspiracy turns into a deadly threat with Charles the only one who can see it and Emma, an innocent pawn.

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The Commodore

P. T. Deutermann

The Navy in 1942-1943 is fighting a losing battle against Japan for control of the Solomon Islands. Vice Admiral William "Bull" Halsey is tasked to change the course of the war. Halsey, a maverick, goes on the offensive and appoints a host of new destroyer commanders, including a wild-card named Harmon Wolf. An American Indian from a Minnesota reservation, Wolf has never fit in with the traditional Navy officer corps. But under Halsey, Wolf's aggressive tactics and gambling nature bring immediate results, and he is swiftly promoted to Commodore of an entire destroyer squadron. What happens next will change Wolf's life, career, and the fate of his ships forever.

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The Eagle Has Flown

Jack Higgins

IRA assassin Liam Devlin returns to Britain in an attempt to effect the escape of German soldier Kurt Steiner from the Tower of London and return with him to Berlin.

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The Naked and the Dead

Norman Mailer

Written in gritty, journalistic detail, the story follows a platoon of Marines who are stationed on the Japanese-held island of Anopopei. Composed in 1948 with the wisdom of a man twice Mailer's age and the raw courage of the young man he was, The Naked and the Dead is representative of the best in twentieth-century American writing.

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The Saboteurs

W.E.B. Griffin, William E. Butterworth IV

As the Battle of the Atlantic rages, German U-boats are sinking U.S. vessels at will. Meanwhile, preparations are being made to invade Sicily and Italy. As the war heats up, "Wild Bill" Donovan and his secret agents find themselves battling on two fronts at once. And fate is about to deal them a surprise that may doom them all.

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Pacific Glory

P. T. Deutermann

Marsh, Mick, and Tommy were inseparable friends during their naval academy years, each man desperately in love with the beautiful, unattainable Glory Hawthorne. Graduation set them on separate paths into the military, but they were all forever changed during the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. Glory, now Tommy's widow, is a tough Navy nurse still grieving her loss while trying to save lives. Marsh, a surface ship officer, finds himself in the thick of terrifying sea combat from Guadalcanal through Midway to a climactic showdown at Leyte Gulf. And Mick, a hotshot fighter pilot with a drinking problem and a chip on his shoulder, seeks redemption after a series of failures leaves him grounded.

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