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  • Published: 25 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473590786
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $29.99

Victoire

A Wartime Story of Resistance, Collaboration and Betrayal




An incredible story of heroism, complicity and survival about a charismatic double-agent who played a major role in World War Two - Agent Victoire.

Paris, 1940. A woman in a red hat and a black fur coat hurries down a side-street. She is Mathilde Carré, codenamed 'the cat', known as Agent Victoire. She is a charismatic spy; her story is one of resistance and survival.

These are the darkest days for France, half occupied by Nazi Germany, half run by the collaborationist Vichy regime; and dark days for Britain - isolated and under threat of invasion.

Mathilde and her Polish conspirator, Roman Czerniawski, have risked torture and execution to build the first Allied intelligence network in Occupied France. With no training and little support, they have in a few months developed a huge system of agents. Their coded weekly reports are London's sole lifeline of reliable information. Mathilde is determined to be her nation's saviour, and what the partners build is central to Intelligence and Resistance efforts. It will become the first great spy network of the Second World War.

But when the Germans inevitably close in, Mathilde makes a fateful compromise. She enters a hall of mirrors where every allegiance is doubtful, every action liable to be held against her. Nobody is certain who she is or whom she works for - her German handler, MI5, or SOE, who succeed in exfiltrating her on a fast boat to London. Is she a double agent - and, if so, can she be trusted to turn again?

Victoire is the story of an inspirational and multi-faceted hero: a passionate, courageous spy but one also fragile and desperate to belong. She embodies the moral complexity of Occupation, and the bargaining between high ideals and dirty reality.

Drawing on a wide range of first-hand sources, including recently declassified material, Roland Philipps has written a dazzling tale of audacity, complicity and the choices made in wartime.

  • Published: 25 March 2021
  • ISBN: 9781473590786
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: Audio Download
  • RRP: $29.99

About the author

Roland Philipps

Roland Philipps went into publishing on graduating from Cambridge and until recently was Publisher of John Murray. He has edited some leading novelists, politicians, historians, travellers and biographers. A Spy Named Orphan, his first book, arises from lifelong connections to Donald Maclean and his story.

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Praise for Victoire

What a read! What a fascinating character! I was gripped from the first page to the last. A truly astonishing story, meticulously and brilliantly told

Philippe Sands, author of The Ratline

A wonderful, atmospheric book: a miraculous portrait of a flawed human being, and a masterful account of the moral quagmire of wartime France and Britain

Carmen Callil, author of Bad Faith

Roland Philipps tells Victoire's story with skill and compassion, and reveals that for all her betrayals, she deserves more understanding than she received in her lifetime

Artemis Cooper, author of Patrick Leigh Fermor

The wartime spy career of Mathilde Carré - aka 'the Cat' and 'Agent Victoire' - is so extraordinary it almost defies belief

The Times

Enough plot twists and moral ambiguity to satisfy any spy novelist ... At its heart this is a book about the moral dilemmas involved in living under the perverting conditions of war and occupation ... Philipps does a fine job of setting the scene inside France, and building up the tension in this increasingly gripping wartime story, and all that follows ... a deeply humane book

Clare Mulley, Spectator

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