When Louis Morgon arrives at a meeting with the Secretary of State, he assumes that he’s to be praised for his deeds as an agent for the CIA. Instead he is summarily dismissed. Having built a life around his career, he finds himself adrift. He leaves his wife, leaves his children, indeed leaves his old life entirely to go find himself in France. There he wanders the countryside and eventually sets down roots in the provincial town of Saint-Léon.
He isn’t far into the renovation of his new home when he uncovers a set of Liberators, handguns distributed to the French resistance during WWII by American forces. The presence of these guns, and some accompanying leaflets, prove to be too much for this investigator to ignore. He contacts the local gendarme, Renard, and the two of them begin to unravel the tale.
What follows is the story of the resistance efforts in this little village during the war. We meet Renard’s father, gendarme during the war, two brothers who are recruited into the movement, and a full cast of Nazi officers, Gestapo thugs, collaborators, militia, and French patriots. The tragedy that unfolds is heartbreaking.
The Resistance is the fourth book in Steiner’s Louis Morgon series. I haven’t read the other books in this series, but Louis Morgon was a very unsympathetic character, and I regretted having to spend much time with him. Thankfully, the rest of the story, which is most of the book, takes place during the war. Steiner does a very good job of portraying life in the French countryside during Nazi occupation. The anxiety, the moral confusion, the crippling suspicion, and the perpetual fear make this novel a worthy read, even if I found the reveal at the end to be a bit flat.