Friday, December 7, 2007

The Voyage Unplanned

The Voyage Unplanned (1974) is my 3rd Frank Yerby book. I chose it because stories about Resistance interest me. The story is set in 1972.

After watching a play in New York, 54 year-old attorney John Farrow meets Byron Graves, an ex S.O.E. whose life he saved in the Vercors salient in the spring of 1944. This event makes Farrow goes to France to search the news of his long lost fiancée, Simone Levy. Before he leaves, a man from the Federal Narcotics Bureau asks him to look for a man called Albrecht Holtz, a drug dealer, and confirm that Holtz is also Heindrich Kroll, an ex S.S. Lieutenant Colonel who has tortured Simone. Farrow refuses because he has promised Simone not to make a revenge. “Don’t kill. There’s no excuse for it – ever-," said Simone.

Farrow is an American, born in France of a French mother and an American father. His father is a member of American diplomatic corps. In WW2 Farrow is a member of the Resistance, 3rd in command of Réseau Merle, Liaison officer from the O.S.S. to Redoute de Vercors. Shaken by the death of his mistress to save his life in 1943, John, or nicknamed Jean le Fou, wishes to die. “Have you ever seen a man get killed in combat who wanted to die? It’s almost impossible. His body’s instincts defeat his will. And being crazy he becomes invincible.” His world revives when he meets Simone, a Jewish officer of Réseau Merle. Soon they are inseparable, until the day Simone is caught by the S.S. officers and tortured for four whole days until John rescues her, only to have her leave him.

Twenty-eight years later, during his search for Simone, John finally learns the truth about the tragedy which made Simone left him, and also finds a new love in Simone’s little sister.

Frank Yerby gave good details about French Resistance and the story is very engaging. It’s also interesting to learn that ex-Nazis were living in perfect tranquility in Spain.

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