All across the Normandy front, paratroopers like the fictional Fisher, Sherlock, and Grey were scattered behind German lines on D-day, many of them dropped in wrong locations. I had Peter and Genevieve run into British paratroopers based on geography: the easternmost beaches and drop zones were assigned to the British. Ranville was headquarters for the British 6th Airborne division for a time after D-day, and an artificial harbor at Arromanches became a hub for men and machinery crossing the English Channel, thus a likely port of departure for refugees leaving France for England.
During WWII, it was not uncommon for military groups to use estates like the fictional Dravot Manor in England. London was frequently filled with rowdy foreign troops, and while most Londoners treated their allies with respect, there were some exceptions, represented by Genevieve’s landlady. The USO hosted many events for soldiers stationed overseas, but the dance Peter and Genevieve attend is fictional. “O, Canada” was not the official national anthem of Canada until 1980, but it was a popular patriotic song at the time of this novel, often sung in schools and at public events—or by seemingly stuckup English corporals wishing to celebrate an American loss. Hammersmith Hospital, where Genevieve briefly worked, is still in operation today.
In the 1930s, Polish code breakers successfully decrypted German codes. As war approached in 1939, they gave copies of the German Enigma encoding machine to the British and French, thus jump-starting the Ultra project. Ultra, the long-classified British program that broke German codes throughout the war, is credited with shortening the war by several years. The Polish contribution is often overlooked, so I thought it appropriate to have Krzysztof’s father work at Bletchley Park, home of the British decryption project. Though the Government Code and Cypher School’s name was changed to the Government Communications Headquarters in 1942, most code breakers still referred to it as the GC&CS.
As late as August 7, 1944, Winston Churchill was encouraging General Eisenhower to move the Operation Dragoon target away from the French Riviera. But the Allies did invade southern France and reached Marseilles ahead of schedule, as has been described in this book. Genevieve’s work is fictional, but her techniques, the destruction of the harbor, occasional Allied use of shady characters for intelligence sources, and fighting between various Resistance groups are real. Details of German forces in southern France, including naval leadership, ost troops, and naval-personnel-turned-infantry, are factual, as is the tension between the Gestapo and the German Army. There were many instances during the war when prisoners were executed shortly before liberation. The execution at Fort Saint-Nicolas is fictional but is based on events that occurred elsewhere.
General information about Romania’s leaders and its involvement in WWII is historically accurate. During the evacuation of Bessarabia, Jewish Communists were among those credited with persecuting the fleeing Romanian majority. In the anti-Semitic climate of the time, the newspapers laid most of the blame on the Jews, with significant consequences for how they would be treated when Romania retook the province the next year.
The Dniester River was the prewar border between Romania and the Soviet Union. Most Romanians were happy to join forces with the Germans to take back their previously owned territories, but when the Romanians crossed the Dniester into Transnistria, the war became less about reclaiming stolen property and more about supporting Hitler’s regime. Antonescu was loyal to Adolf Hitler until the end, but many Romanians began to sour toward Germany after the huge defeat at Stalingrad. All refineries mentioned in the novel did indeed operate during WWII, and there was an air raid using B-24s (and some B-17s) on the Romano Americana refinery on August 18, 1944, though naturally, Peter, Fish, and Ionescu weren’t really there to observe it. It was the second-to-last raid before the refineries were put out of commission. With the loss of the Ploieşti oil fields, the Nazi war machine didn’t grind to a halt, but it was severely hampered—so much so that the German Army launched a campaign to take the oil fields back the following spring. They were supposed to retake the oil fields as a birthday present for their Führer, but they were unsuccessful.
Details about the Iron Guard and the Legion of the Archangel Michael are factual, including information about initiation into assassin nests. Romanian Mountain Troops were among the best trained in the Romanian Army, though the battle of Scorţeni that they are involved in during this book is fictional.
King Michael and the democratic political parties he worked with after the August twenty-third coup succeeded in establishing a representative government in Romania, but it was short-lived. Despite agreements made during negotiations, the Soviet Army did not stay out of Bucharest, and Romania was treated more like a conquered nation than an ally. In 1947, King Michael was forced to abdicate by a group of armed Soviet-trained Communists who threatened mass arrests and civil war. Romania and most of Eastern Europe would have to wait until the fall of the Soviet Union to experience freedom once again.
I have tried to describe weapons, airplanes, artillery, and other items as they would have existed at the time of the story. Leaders of nations and any generals or admirals who are mentioned throughout the novel are historical characters. Those with the rank of colonel or below are fictional.
The scripture quoted in chapter twenty-two is 2 Nephi 10:25. Jamie’s Shakespearean quotes are from the following plays: As You Like It, 3.3.253; Richard Duke of York, 2.1.86; 2 Henry IV, 3.1.5–8; Troilus and Cressida, 3.3.144–145,149; Henry V, 4.3.61–62; Julius Caesar, 3.1.276; Henry V, 4.1.286–289; MacBeth, 5.5.22; Henry V 3.1.7–8; and Hamlet, 3.3.93–95.
I’m indebted to many people for their assistance with this book. First, thanks goes to my wonderful test readers: Melanie, Laurie, and Teresa. And I am grateful to the other writers who looked over part or all of my manuscript: Linda White, Terri Ferran, Stephanie Fowers, Daron Fraley, Tod Ferran, and Marianna Richardson. Their constructive criticism and encouragement helped make this book better.
Thanks goes to Lela Machado for giving me access to an outstanding research library. Most of the books were informative and helpful, and I still laugh about that propaganda book written by Romanian Communists.
I also owe thanks to Briana Shawcroft for her maps. She did an excellent job helping me figure out what I wanted and then creating it. The team at Covenant, especially my editor, Sam, also deserves a big thanks for all of their hard work on this and my previous book. I’m grateful to have such a talented group involved with my projects. I am thankful for my husband and his patience and support. And for my young daughters, who usually napped at the same time so I could work while they slept.
I’d also like to express appreciation to all those readers who purchased Espionage and to those who shared their enthusiasm for it with others. Without their support, this book wouldn’t have been accepted for publication. And I’m grateful for my first-time readers and their willingness to give my writing a chance.