Night Flight to Paris
David Gilman is best known as the author of the Master of War series, following the blood-drenched adventures of an English mercenary soldier in the 14th century. Occasionally his publishers let him off the leash to write a stand-alone novel, of which this is the second.
Gilman’s readers will know that his novels are not for the squeamish. This tale of cat-and-mouse between the Resistance and the Gestapo and others in occupied France in 1943 (the hero does not reach Paris until chapter 30) provides plenty of opportunity for extreme violence. It begins with a Gestapo torture session. However, there is much more to the book than this. Gilman expertly creates the cloying atmosphere of fear and suspicion which blanketed occupied France, where nobody trusts anybody and everyone is a potential informer. Even the Germans do not trust each other.
My problem with this book is that I cannot believe that the British would risk sending one of their codebreakers from the ultra-secret Bletchley Park centre on a dangerous mission into enemy-occupied territory, even to rescue his daughter. I imagine Gilman knows this as well, but the hero’s code-breaking skills are useful to the plot.
A fast-moving atmospheric thriller.