War in the Shadows

Pages: 400
Subject: History
Imprint: Oneworld
Illustrations: Maps, 8-page greyscale plate section

War in the Shadows

Resistance, Deception and Betrayal in Occupied France

Patrick Marnham

Courage and betrayal in Occupied France, involving SOE, British Intelligence, the Gestapo and the French Resistance
9780861540587 (2 Sep 2021)
RRP £10.99 / US$17.95
9781786078094 (17 Sep 2020)
RRP £20.00 / US$30.00

The Book

In 1962 the young Patrick Marnham set off by car for a small village in central France. There he was taught French by an imperious countess, who he later discovered had fought in the Resistance until, betrayed, she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. On the very same day that his hostess's network was broken, Jean Moulin, de Gaulle's delegate as head of the combined Resistance forces, was arrested in Lyons, where he was tortured by Klaus Barbie before dying in Gestapo custody. Was this coincidence, or were these events connected? The anonymous letter writer suggested a key to the mystery.

Using a knowledge of France gained from 12 years as the Independent's Paris correspondent, and subsequent research in archives in England and France, Marnham set out to discover the truth about the betrayal of the old lady who had become his tutor and friend. Following a trail leading from London through Occupied Europe to the rank and file Resistance in lost corners of France, he has unravelled the story of a complex wartime deception, involving British, American and French intelligence services.

The War in the Shadows shines a light on the brutality and cynicism of the Secret War and reveals how it was actually fought. The result is a story of ruthless double-dealing worthy of John le Carré, but with this difference: it is not a fiction.

Additional Information

Subject History
Pages 400
Imprint Oneworld
Illustrations Maps, 8-page greyscale plate section


About the Author

Patrick Marnham is a biographer, reporter and screenwriter. His biographies have covered subjects as diverse as Diego Rivera, Georges Simenon, Jean Moulin and Mary Wesley. He has been a staff writer for Private Eye, a BBC script writer, Literary Editor of the Spectator and Paris correspondent of the Independent and the Evening Standard. His most recent book is Snake Dance: Journeys Beneath a Nuclear Sky. He lives near Oxford.


War in the Shadows is a melange of Le Grand Meaulnes and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It is unforgettable.'


‘A masterly analysis, impeccably presented.'

- Spectator

‘It is beautifully written, minutely observed… full of underhand trickery… in every sense of the word an intriguing book.'

- Roger Boyes, The Times

‘Fascinating… Marnham has a vast and scholarly knowledge of this often treacherous world… [and] has painted a vivid picture of a number of idealistic and trusting men and women caught up in a game of subterfuge, rivalry and politics that remains impervious to full exposure, even now.'

- Literary Review

‘Patrick Marnham is one of our very best writers on France.'

- Antony Beevor

‘A brilliant and revelatory work of modern historical investigation, throwing new light on the French Resistance and the complex world of secret intelligence. Written with remarkable insight, understanding and empathy - a triumph.'

- William Boyd

‘An incredible story brilliantly told. Marnham has created an utterly gripping story of wartime espionage, deception, double-crossing and terrible betrayal that drew me in from the outset. A stunning work of investigation, research and scholarship. I honestly think this is the best book I have ever read about the SOE in France.'

- James Holland