Rise of the Maquis - Book Review

Book Review of :  Rise of the Maquis


The author of Rise of the Maquis,  Charles.G.Fournel, is an English writer whose vocabulary usage and writing style add a deal of authenticity to this novel about World War II.. Fournel has a family interest in World War II, especially with the resistance groups. His deep interest in the war allows him to write a painstakingly realistic detailed plot. In addition, his meticulously researched weapons add even more authenticity. 

Fournel’s primary character is an Englishman who uses an alias, Corporal James Garner. James was assigned the position of Special Operations Executive in the Royal British Armed Forces in World War II.  He and two others were parachuted into France. After the deaths of his two comrades, James, in disguise, found his way into Paris to join up with a secret underground resistance group of Frenchmen. With no experience with the French language, he is slowly received into the group, and his loyalty is tested in minor but dangerous operations.

James explains his willingness to aid the resisters because his comrades are dead, his first assignment fulfilled, and the British military is unable to extract him. He is now working for French freedom and to kill as many Germans as he can. One of his first assignments was to break into a German warehouse where Pablo Picasso had information that stolen Jewish treasures were being hidden. Under the fascist regime, the Jews were not considered human and were not allowed to own property. After a short firefight, they discovered mountains of clothes, multiple shelves stacked with silver, piles of leather-bound books, boxes of jewelry, wooden barrels full of gold teeth, and countless paintings. After the war, an attempt would be made to return goods to the rightful owners. 

Many of the characters in the novel are historical icons and accurately portrayed. Others like the priest are unique characterizations. The priest explained that growing up, he thought he would be a priest or secret agent. So, he decided to become a “spook” hiding in plain sight.  The author’s knowledge of authentic historical weapons is revealed in his description of “a German-made Bergman MP 18 submachine gun, it had a drum magazine fitted horizontally on the top and carried fifty rounds. This monster of a gun was capable of firing five hundred rounds a minute.” 

James becomes involved in several bloody and surreal undercover and covert guerrilla resistance strategies. As he gains the trust of other resistance forces, the individuals become like a family to him. He is constantly challenged by his lack of understanding of French and German and the secrecy within the underground. In time he becomes a hero in the civilian army. 

The story concludes with the Allied invasion of Normandy. With the war over, James must decide the next direction of his life. This book is recommended to readers who are interested in WWII history from a different perspective. 

Reviewed by: Carole W.

About Charles Fournel


Writing is not a career but a way of life.' Charles grew up in a small seaside town in Suffolk, England. He is a divorced, devoted father of two. He started writing short stories at the age of ten and since has expanded his genre to World War Two. He has family connections in both the Allies and Axis during the war. This is the reason for his extended interest in this era. He has grown to have great respect for resistance groups who, without any military experience, took up arms for their country.


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