The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins is a novel set during World War II. The book was published in 1975 and become a best seller as well as a movie (1976) starring Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Jenny Agutter and Robert Duvall.
At a meeting of the German high command, Hitler orders the head of the Abwehr, Admiral Canaris, to make a feasibility study of a plan to capture British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Fearing Himmler, rather than Hitler, Canaris orders Oberst Radl to check the possibilities. To his surprise, Radl finds that a German spy, Joanna Grey, knows when and where Churchill will be vacationing on a certain weekend.
Himmler orders Radl to proceed without the knowledge of Canaris. Radl arranges for a member of the IRA, Liam Devlin, to be smuggled to Norfolk, posing as a wounded veteran, and arrange for the landing of a crack German commando team.
The man to head the mission is disgraced Lt. Col. Kurt Steiner and the men who backed him up after his court martial. The team is dropped into Norfolk disguised as Free Polish troops and get on with their assignment to capture the Prime Minister.
The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins is a solid, well written story with many enjoyable elements and interesting characters. The story is not just a war story, but also involves clandestine operations which reach the highest levels in both the English and the German governments.
The characters in the novel are developed and I the premise was very interesting, although it took a while to get there. The first and third parts of the book are excellent, the middle dragged on a bit.
The storyline alternates between a village in wartime England and the Nazi regime. It was interesting to read how even the Nazi spy agency, Abwehr, where threatened by the SS and no-one, not even high-ranking military officials, were safe from their brutal tactics.
The story, while simple at first, gets more and more complex as it unravels. The reader is privy to the German high command, their planning, train of thought, and the struggles and consequences of their actions. The astute reader will read between the lines to glimpse of the police apparatus Himmler has put in place that does not distinguish between friend or foe.
The novel is an excellent read, especially for fans of stories set in World War II or the espionage genre. While the pace is a bit slow at first, the sudden shift in tempo is both drastic and dynamic and is sure to grab the attention of any lover of the genre.Powered by Sidelines