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Full Name: Elisabeth de Mornay
Codename: Cecile
Nationality: British
Organization: SOE
Occupation Agent

Creator: Mara Timon
Time Span: 2020 - 2021


Elisabeth de Mornay is an agent with the British SOE.

Codename Cécile, this woman's activities take place during the latter years of the Second World War. While de Mornay is her real last name, she will also be known by several other aliases, such as Nathalie Lafontaine, Solange Verin, and Veronica Sinclair, as would befit an operative operating in the field for the SOE.

In a fascinating brief history of that organization provided by the author on her website: "[the] Special Operations Executive (SOE) officially formed on 22 July 1940, at the instigation of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as a single organisation to conduct espionage, subversion, sabotage, and reconnaissance.  He directed Hugh Dalton, the Minister of Economic Warfare and newly appointed with the political responsibility for SOE, to 'Go and set Europe ablaze'. SOE recruited agents from all classes, backgrounds and occupations, and provided rigorous training that included map reading, demolitions, weapons, Morse code, fieldcraft, and close combat. In 1942, SOE began recruiting women as field agents. They trained alongside the men, (often being used as an example to spur the men on), and were deployed behind enemy lines as wireless operators ("pianists"), couriers, and circuit organisers. SOE sent 39 women into France alone, and all but 13 of these amazing women came back."

On our initial meeting of de Mornay, she has already become seasoned in the field having "narrowly escaped a Nazi ambush" two months earlier. Almost immediately we are given an interesting glimpse into the passion and self-control of this woman when a Gestapo agent approaches her in a Paris cafe and demands to see her papers, tossing them on the floor in contempt. While on her knees to pick them up, the "goon" standing close to her head, she tells us "options ran through my mind. I could easily disable him. Even kill him". Of course, being an intelligent woman she chose to do neither but there is a little disappointment in her mind at that decision.

     Another fascinating look into her nature comes shortly after her cover is blown by a French collaborator and she has to flee. A woman helping her escape hands her a couple of items to be used as needed, a Luger and a box of chocolates and admonishes, "Cécile, for once try and be subtle. Use the chocolates first."


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:2020
Last Appearance:2021

1 City Of Spies City Of Spies
Written by Mara Timon
Copyright: 2020

"LISBON, 1943: When her cover is blown, SOE agent Elisabeth de Mornay flees Paris. Pursued by the Gestapo, she makes her way to neutral Lisbon, where Europe's elite rub shoulders with diplomats, businessmen, smugglers, and spies. There she receives new orders - and a new identity.
Posing as wealthy French widow Solange Verin, Elisabeth must infiltrate a German espionage ring targeting Allied ships, before more British servicemen are killed. But, the closer Elisabeth comes to discovering the truth, the greater the risk grows. With a German officer watching her every step, it will take all of Elisabeth's resourcefulness and determination to complete her mission."
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2 Resistance Resistance
Written by Mara Timon
Copyright: 2021

"May 1944. When spy Elisabeth de Mornay, code name Cécile, notices a coded transmission from an agent in the field does not bear his usual signature, she suspects his cover has been blown - something that is happening with increasing frequency. With the situation in Occupied France worsening and growing fears that the Resistance has been compromised, Cécile is ordered behind enemy lines.
Having rendezvoused with her fellow agents, Léonie and Dominique, together they have one mission: help the Resistance destabilize German operations to pave the way for the Normandy landings. But the life of a spy is never straightforward, and the in-fighting within the Resistance makes knowing who to trust ever more difficult. With their lives on the line, all three women will have to make decisions that could cost them everything - for not all their enemies are German."
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     A fellow spy-fi fan was nice enough to tell me about this extremely enjoyable series and I quickly got hold of the first book. He mentioned that the second book had just come out, making it a series so I should be interested in it. He also said that the first book "was very well received" which, after I started to read it, I could easily understand.

     The author has a wonderfully smooth writing style, making the story flow quickly and easily and keeping the reader (me) from noticing that time was passing. I love a good book that draws me in like that and I gladly went along.


My Grade: A-


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