In the tradition of Agent Zigzag comes this breathtaking biography, as fast-paced and emotionally intuitive as the very best spy thrillers, which illuminates an unsung hero of the French Resistance during World War II—Robert de La Rochefoucauld, an aristocrat turned anti-Nazi saboteur—and his daring exploits as a résistant trained by Britain’s Special Operations Executive.
A scion of one of the most storied families in France, Robert de La Rochefoucauld was raised in a magnificent chateau and educated in Europe’s finest schools. When the Nazis invaded and imprisoned his father, La Rochefoucauld escaped to England and learned the dark arts of anarchy and combat—cracking safes and planting bombs and killing with his bare hands—from a collection of British spies, beloved by Winston Churchill, who altered the war in Europe with their covert tactics. With his newfound skills, La Rochefoucauld returned to France and organized Resistance cells, blew up fortified compounds and munitions factories, interfered with Germany’s wartime missions, and executed Nazi officers. Caught by the Germans, La Rochefoucauld withstood months of torture and escaped his own death sentence, not once but twice.
The Saboteur recounts La Rochefoucauld’s enthralling adventures, from jumping from a moving truck on his way to his execution to stealing Nazi limos to dressing up in a nun’s habit—one of his many disguises and impersonations. Whatever the mission, whatever the dire circumstance, La Rochefoucauld acquitted himself nobly, with the straight-back aplomb of a man of aristocratic breeding: James Bond before Ian Fleming conjured him.
More than just a fast-paced, real life thriller, The Saboteur is also a deep dive into an endlessly fascinating historical moment, revealing the previously untold story of a network of commandos who battled evil, bravely worked to change the course of history, and helped inspire the creation of America’s own Central Intelligence Agency.
“Chilling and powerful…La Rochefoucauld faced torture and death, yet he carried on. There is inspiration in his example, and that makes The Saboteur well worth reading.” — New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Paul Kix is a deputy editor at ESPN the Magazine. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, GQ, New York, Men’s Journal, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and children.