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  • Published: 17 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9781529111293
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $24.99

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.

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

'A truly astonishing story, meticulously and brilliantly told' Philippe Sands, author of The Ratline

RESISTANCE, COLLABORATION AND BETRAYAL

Occupied 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', later known as Agent Victoire. She is charismatic, daring, and a spy; her story is one of heroism and survival against the odds.

These are the darkest days for France, half-occupied by Nazi Germany, half-governed by the collaborationist Vichy regime; and dark days for Britain, isolated and under threat of invasion. Yet Mathilde is driven by a sense of destiny that she will be her nation's saviour.

With little training or support, Mathilde and her Polish collaborator, Roman Czerniawski, create a huge web of agents in a matter of weeks to form the first great Allied intelligence network of the Second World War. They risk torture and execution to deliver their coded reports, London's sole source of reliable information about the Occupation.

But the 'Big Network' is threatened at every turn and when the Germans inevitably close in Mathilde makes a desperate compromise. She enters a hall of mirrors in which any bond is doubtful and every action could be fatal. Nobody is certain where her allegiances lie - her German handler, the founder of the Resistance she ensnares and the British who eventually succeed in extracting her on a fast boat all have to make their own calculations. Is she a double, possibly even a triple agent, and, if so, can she be trusted to turn yet again?

Victoire is the story of a passionate, courageous spy but also of a fragile hero, desperate to belong - a portrait of patriotism and survival in momentous times. Drawing on a wide range of new and first-hand material, Roland Philipps has written a dazzling tale of audacity, complicity and the choices made in wartime.

  • Published: 17 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9781529111293
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $24.99

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.

Also by Roland Philipps

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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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