The Eagle Trail
In August 1940, a Jewish family from Paris attempts to escape from the Nazis. They take the dangerous Eagle Trail across the Pyrenees to Spain, but their Andorran guides murder them for the valuables they carry.
The story moves to Antwerp, Belgium, and 16-year-old Paul Hansen witnesses his father being shot and killed by a German soldier outside his factory on the docks. Believing Paul knows something about his father’s involvement in the newly emerging Resistance movement, the Germans come after him. Paul is helped to escape by his father’s friend and fellow Resistance fighter, Jos Theys. The plan is to smuggle Paul to England, and so begins Paul’s journey to safety, by barge, Bugatti racing car and train. It is a journey fraught with danger, and Paul and the brave members of the Resistance who help him along the way come close to disaster on several occasions. Paul reaches the town of Lavelanet in southern France, where he meets his guides for the long trek along the Eagle Trail to Spain. But members of the local Resistance have a collaborator in their midst, and Paul and everyone he knows are in danger of being betrayed to the Nazis.
The Eagle Trail is a gripping adventure with well-drawn characters, and the short chapters move the story along at a fast pace. Historical details, such as the organisation of the Resistance and the Demarcation Line between the Free Zone and Occupied France, are well researched, and the author works them seamlessly into the story. It is a tale of remarkable courage and the stirrings of first love between Paul and Josette, the daughter of the leader of the Resistance in Lavelanet.
This book would appeal to older teen readers who like action and adventure stories. A sequel will be published in 2015.