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3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,979 Ratings  ·  856 Reviews
D day is approaching. They don't know where or when, but the Germans know it'll be soon, and for Felicity Flick" Clairet, the stakes have never been higher. A senior agent in the ranks of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) responsible for sabotage, Flick has survived to become one of Britain's most effective operatives in northern France. She knows that the Germans' ab ...more
Kindle Edition, 612 pages
Published (first published December 3rd 2001)
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Vibhooti Gupta I absolutely loved this book. The thrill, the pace, the charachters and the suspense make this book a page turner.
In fact wondering why this book…more
I absolutely loved this book. The thrill, the pace, the charachters and the suspense make this book a page turner.
In fact wondering why this book isn't featured better here.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 20, 2007 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Jackdaws, like other Ken Follett titles I've read, is kind of like riding a moped. It's a lot of fun, but all the same you really don't want to be seen enjoying it. For me reading Follett is one of those guilty pleasures, where you know it isn't the best writing out there, the characters aren't particularly well developed, and in general the book isn't ground breaking or noteworthy in any way -- and yet you keep reading, because secretly it's kind of fun.
If you like WWII fiction with lot
First off, I feel this is a 3.5 but I'm giving it 4, as some of the reviewers on here have been too harsh.

JACKDAWS takes the standard D-Day spy stories but twists it by focusing on the Historical female agents, or, as they were known, something of the unsung heroes.

This particular tale focuses on a female agent who is trying to knock down the phone lines of an SS HQ but needs to do it as cleaning ladies. So, after failing her first attempt, she heads back to the UK where she, and other govt of
Feb 03, 2013 Craig rated it did not like it
Jackdaws could have been a very good World War II novel. It's about a group of women operatives (most of them criminals or malcontents) who are given a chance to serve their country and clear their records if they undertake a dangerous mission in France to blow up a Nazi communications center just as the D-Day invasion begins. Yes, the premise is very much a female Dirty Dozen.

The action and characterization of the book are okay but typical. There were just too many sex scenes. And the sad thin
Ana Filipa
Dec 16, 2012 Ana Filipa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Em primeiro lugar começo por dizer que não só o autor, como também o livro me surpreenderam.

Este foi o primeiro livro que escolhi para dar início às leituras de Ken Follett, pois nunca tinha lido nada deste autor. Fiquei um pouco de pé atrás quando li a sinopse, pois pensei ser mais um de tantos livros que iriam descrever espiões e situações horríveis passadas durante a Segunda Grande Guerra. No entanto, este livro surpreendeu-me pela positiva, uma vez que não entramos apenas na trama que se sit
Kristen Schrader (Wenke)
"Exactly fifty women were sent into France as secret agents by the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War. Of those, thirty-six survived the war. The other fourteen gave their lives. This book is dedicated to all of them."

So. Damn. Good.

Ken Follett is best known for his sweeping epics Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and Fall of Giants which span decades, but in Jackdaws he manages to apply his same talent for engrossing description into a story that takes 10 days. The
May 25, 2011 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popcorn-reading
I picked this up on holiday because I'd read through the books I'd brought and this was the only one among the English-language secondhand paperbacks at the hotel I thought I could stand. It's okay, for what it is. Follett keeps the adrenaline going, but there's not much else here. The main characters are all impossibly good-looking and/or bursting with raw sexual energy (one can practically cast it with the appropriate Hollywood A-listers as one reads). The plot is full of twists, as one would ...more
Aug 30, 2012 Becky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who claims they like spy novels but secretly loves harlequin romance
Shelves: book-club
Either KF is a dirty old man or he's taken the adage "sex sells" to heart. For a spy novel, there was an awful lot of flirting and crushes and sex — each instance intended to be more shocking than the last. Rather, each was more ridiculous than the last, resulting in sighs and eye rolling. Lots of eye rolling.

When the author wasn't writing amateur porn and got around to writing the spy part of his spy novel, things didn't pick up as much as you'd think. The plot never gets any serious momentum.
Sep 21, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, historical
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Typically, war based stories are so full of minute details that they detract from the story for me. The plot sounded intriguing though, so I decided to give it a shot. It ended up being one of the better WWII stories that I have read. There was enough background information for me to underdstand the historical reference of the story, but it was balanced by a well developed plot. I like reading stories from a non-American perspective since it is a view ...more
Donald Gallinger
Ken Follet achieves the nearly impossible task of creating genuine suspense about an event that is well-known, with fresh characters, clever plotting, and surprising twists on an old story. You will enjoy this book on a long plane flight, or just sitting out on your porch during the lazy days of summer. I always enjoy Ken Follet's approach to history--crackerjack pacing, strong dialogue, and a deep desire to entertain. If only all writers cared as much about their audience's enjoyment as Follet ...more
Julie Endres
Apr 21, 2016 Julie Endres rated it really liked it
This was a brilliant book as I have come to expect from Ken Follett. He is the master of historical fiction. His detail and character development for whatever period he is writing about is flawless. He always has amazing fictitious characters that are on both good and evil sides and takes the time to develop the feelings and circumstances from both sides point of views. I enjoy his book immensely. I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 only because it was really really long. Unlike most of his book ...more
J.F. Penn
Jun 17, 2011 J.F. Penn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Full video review here :

I have always found Ken Follett too verbose but this book was an excellent fast read with a great female lead character. Flick Clairet is one of a select group of women helping the French Resistance during the final years of the Second World War. She is married to a French man, the leader of the resistance in Reims and in the opening sequence we see a group of them fail to overcome a telephone exchange that is crucial to the German
Jul 21, 2009 Jacki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am an avid reader. My husband, not so much. This is one of the few books that he brought into our married bookshelves, and that's because he had to read it for a class. I read anything I can get my little hands on, so I grabbed this one up.

I loved it. I loved the main characters, the gathering of the team, the constant action, all that friction.... everything. It kept me excited and I couldn't put it down. I love tough, unique, women characters and this was full of them. I feel like it'd be a
Carl Alves
On the eve of D-Day, the Nazis are trying to crush the French resistance. Felicity Clairet of Britain’s Special Operations branch is working with the resistance in Northern France. After a failed attempt at taking out a European telephone exchange, Felicity is once more going after the exchange. Her plan is to create an all-female unit posing as a cleaning staff to carry out the mission. After not being able to find Brits who can speak French, she recruits non-professionals who speak French, and ...more
Mar 08, 2015 Rachael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
That's the last time I take a book recommendation from the head cashier at Barnes. The fact that she also recommended The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks should have been warning enough. I think I'll be pulling the fluff out of my eyes for days. Good try, Mr Follet, with your Nazi insignia designed cover and scattering of knowledge about code breaking and writing of LGBT characters. It was not a story about women fighting in the war effort so much as women arguing with each other and hooking up, some ...more
Nov 20, 2009 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
As this book opens in 1944, Flick Clairet, an experienced British agent working with the French Resistance, fails to blow up a crucial piece of infrastructure. She returns to England and argues for a another shot at it; she is given leave to take a group of inexperienced female agents back to France with her and try again. Meanwhile, a German officer has captured the remnants of the original force and infiltrated the Resistance cell Flick expects to meet. Now Flick has to escort a group of rank ...more
rating: 3/5

Days before D-Day there is a high priority Nazi target on French soil that needs to be destroyed. However, there is a catch, only an all-female team can gain access to it. Flick is put in charge of this quickly formed, ragtag team as they attempt to fulfill their dangerous mission.

Loved the action, the plot, and the kick-ass female protagonist. The POV mostly alternated between Flick, the British agent on French soil, and Dieter, a Nazi commander. I had chills from viewing through a
Philip Walker
Jun 05, 2012 Philip Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am quite new to Ken Follett, having only recently read Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, both of which really caught my imagination. Jackdaws while it is more superficial than the epic Pillars of the Earth, is a very good engrossing story. An all female (well female-ish) team of special operative made up of the deluded, the dangerous and the brave, all of who would never be considered suitable for general duties or have already been rejected, parachute into France having trained for ...more
Oct 04, 2013 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The plot of Jackdaws is pretty straightforward--in the days leading up the Allied invasion of France in 1945, British spies, working with the French resistance, are trying to blow up a crucial telephone exchange in Nazi-occupied France. The first attempt fails, with much of the team being captured and tortured. One of the members of that team, a skilled female operative named Flick, escapes back to London and argues for a follow-on team. The British government agrees, given the importance of the ...more
Jo-Ann Zhou
As Brave as Man

As a book telling about the roles played by women during the World War II, I cheered it warmly. But compared to Follett's other books, this by no means should be categorized as a good one, only an OK one.

The story focused on an key task before the D-day, but elaborated from two threads. One side was Britain, with Flick as their leading figure, whereas the other side was from Germany, with Dieter as the top enemy. Of course, as the history already told us, the D-day was the turning
Sep 30, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first experience with Follett, and though I have to admit that I was skeptical, I found it to be very enjoyable. While Follett's work is technically fiction, I feel as though I'm getting a history lesson, that every page adds to my historical knowledge. The writing style is quite fine, although a bit on the lighter side than I expected. The story is gripping and kept me turning those pages excitedly. I like the way Follett mixes action with emotional charge and character depth in thi ...more
First off, I feel this is a 3.5 but I'm giving it 4, as some of the reviewers on here have been too harsh.

JACKDAWS takes the standard D-Day spy stories but twists it by focusing on the Historical female agents, or, as they were known, something of the unsung heroes.

This particular tale focuses on a female agent who is trying to knock down the phone lines of an SS HQ but needs to do it as cleaning ladies. So, after failing her first attempt, she heads back to the UK where she, and other govt of
Mar 01, 2011 Irene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Irene by: Rebecca Schneider
Shelves: fiction
The problem I have with historical fiction is that I always figure there must be plenty of amazing true stories from the same time period, so why not read about those? Jackdaws brings attention to the Special Operations Executive, the British military division responsible for secret operatives sent behind enemy lines. According to a note in the book, fifty women really were sent into France as spies during World War II. So what are their stories? I'm sure they're as fascinating, or even more so, ...more
Sep 21, 2010 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Spy story and Follett fans.
This offering of Ken Follett, while not up to Eye of the Needle or The Pillars of the Earth was nevertheless a good book to have on a trip with many delays due to weather and mechanical problems.

It chronicles the travails of a group of British women who are tasked to destroy a German telephone exchange just before D-Day, important because it was the main conduit for most of the military phone traffic between France and Berlin .

The plot is well-developed but I find Follett's characterizations to
May 08, 2007 haley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worldwartwo
Let me preface this by saying that I love historical fiction having anything to do with Europe between the years 1900-1945. World War Two dramas are usually filled with such drama and atmosphere that I can't help but be excited by it. I'm not sure why, but I love it.

This book found me while I was on my French Resistance kick, and it's about a squad of British Female Spies that parachute into occupied France to aid in the Resistance. Sure, it's a mass-market paperback thriller, but it's a fun, fa
I keep reading Ken Follett even though he really, honestly isn't a very good writer. I'm trying to figure out how the hell he manages, with his short declarative sentences, trite characterization and funkily convoluted plots, to hook me so thoroughly that I will stay up all night to finish. But he does, whether he's writing about medieval towns or, as in this case, occupied France in 1944. Um, now I'm trying to remember some details. They are fading! Fading fast! There's a girl and, and, another ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable book. For some reason the beginning didn't really connect with me, and I felt like it was slow to get going or at least slow to interest me (unlike typical Ken Follett, who usually grabs my interest from almost the very first word). That said, once the story got going (about 10% into the story), I was hooked. Basically this is The Dirty Dozen with women. Six English women (all but one, the leader, are a bunch of misfits, and one of the six isn't even a real woman or English) are t ...more
Another good one from KF. I somehow missed these back when I was going through his books. This one is set in the month before D-Day in France. The British secret service is trying to disable a key Nazi telephone and communications center. Strong and deep characters, a lively plot, a great read. Gawd, the Nazis are a vile stain on humanity. I am embarrassed to see some of the things they did popping up here in the US, though in perhaps a slightly altered form (wearing a different coat, more corre ...more
I was a bit skeptical at first, as these longer books can become very tedious and sometimes feel like a chore to finish. But once I got past the first few chapters, I was hooked. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction or is interested in World War II history. Five stars!
Dec 04, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for "The Pillars of the Earth" at the library and found this on the shelf instead. So far, I'm hooked!

This was my first Follett read and I really enjoyed it. It was a thriller, full of suspense, not my usual genre, but I was drawn into the story quickly and found it hard to put down. Set in German-occupied France during WWII, a group of secret agents with the Resistance plot out and execute a dangerous mission. The interesting part is the agents are all women. Fast paced story tell
Thom Swennes
Jun 18, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another inspiring narrative, Jackdaws by Ken Follett, places him firmly where he belongs; at the top of the literary mountain. This is a story of war, love and espionage. These elements can’t miss when stirred and served by Follett. Felicity (Flick) Clairet is a physically small woman but with the heart of a lion. She leads a group of French partisans on an unsuccessful raid in occupied France. Smarting from her failure she vows to try it again. I was surprisingly impressed with the concept of a ...more
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Ken Follett burst onto the book world in 1978 with Eye of the Needle, a taut and original thriller with a memorable woman character in the central role. The book won the Edgar award and became an outstanding film.

He went on to write four more bestselling thrillers: Triple; The Key to Rebecca; The Man from St Petersburg; and Lie Down with Lions.

He also wrote On Wings of Eagles, the true story of ho
More about Ken Follett...

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“When people are perfectly polite, it usually means they don't really care. A little awkwardness is more sincere.” 6 likes
“Ninguém está certo o tempo todo, mas, numa guerra, quando um líder se engana, pessoas morrem.” 1 likes
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