The New York Times bestseller: the incredible untold story of Virginia Hall, an American woman with a wooden leg who infiltrated Occupied France for the SOE and became the Gestapo's most wanted Allied spy, written by acclaimed biographer Sonia Purnell.
***A New York Times bestseller***
'Riveting' Mick Herron, New York Times * 'A rousing tale' The Times, Book of the Week * 'Cracking' Telegraph * 'Gripping' Irish Times * 'Brilliant' Evening Standard * 'Excellent' Spectator In September 1941, a young American woman strides up the steps of a hotel in Lyon, Vichy France. Her papers say she is a journalist. Her wooden leg is disguised by a determined gait and a distracting beauty. She is there to spark the resistance.
By 1942 Virginia Hall was the Gestapo's most urgent target, having infiltrated Vichy command, trained civilians in guerrilla warfare and sprung soldiers from Nazi prison camps. The first woman to go undercover for British SOE, her intelligence changed the course of the war - but her fight was still not over.
This is a spy history like no other, telling the story of the hunting accident that disabled her, the discrimination she fought and the secret life that helped her triumph over shocking adversity.
Purnell's account of Hall's hectic, amphetamine-fuelled exploits never falters. It recalls Caroline Moorehead's wonderful book, Village of Secrets, but has an added touch of Ben Macintyre's brio ... A rousing tale of derring-do' - The Times, Book of the Week
Soon to be a film starring Daisy Ridley, Purnell's life of the SOE agent Virginia Hall is a cracking story about an extraordinarily brave woman - Telegraph Best Holiday Beach Reads
The extraordinary facts of [Hall's] life are brought onto the page here with a well-judged balance of empathy and fine detail. This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down - New York Times
Riveting ... one of the most breath-taking stories yet told of female courage behind enemy lines ... An intimate and moving portrayal - Sarah Helm, author of If This Is A Woman and A Life In Secrets
Brimming with moving tales of courage in the face of tyranny, this is a worthy tribute to an incredible figure - Sunday Mirror
Purnell mixes telling detail with narrative verve to convey both the excitements of Hall's precarious existence and the force of her indomitable spirit - Mail on Sunday
With her thriller-writer's style and copious new research, Purnell has written a fitting and moving tribute to an amazing woman - The Economist
Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has written for The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, and The Sunday Times. Her book First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill was a book of the year in the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and Lenny Letter, and was shortlisted for the Plutarch Award for Best Biography. Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, was longlisted for the Orwell prize.