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Publisher's Summary

A roller-coaster ride full of danger and intrigue based on the extraordinary true story of Australia’s most beloved war heroine, Nancy Wake, now optioned for a television series starring Elizabeth Debicki.

In 1936, intrepid young Australian journalist Nancy Wake is living in Paris after witnessing firsthand the terror of Hitler’s rise in Europe, firing her resolve to join the fight to defeat the Nazis. When Nancy falls in love with a handsome French industrialist, no sooner has she become Mrs. Henri Fiocca than the Germans invade and Nancy adopts another name, a codename - the first of many.

As the elusive Lucienne Carlier she smuggles people across borders and earns the nickname "The White Mouse", along with a five-million-franc bounty on her head courtesy of the Gestapo. Forced to flee France for England, Nancy is trained by an elite espionage group under the codename Hélène. Finally, with mission in hand, she is airdropped back into France as the deadly Madame Andrée.

But the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed Nancy and the people she loves - will become.

Based on the true story of a woman who saved countless lives, Code Name Hélène is a thrilling tale of unfaltering courage, remarkable sacrifice - and love.

"Magnificent.... Lawhon carries us into the heart of the French resistance [and] into the mind of a badass heroine with uncanny instincts who takes on the Nazis and men’s arrogant sexism with uncommon bravado.... Propulsive.... Emotionally stirring.... Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake’s accomplishments will hold readers in its grip." (Booklist, starred review)

"Underground operative, charmer in red lipstick, loving wife, and hard-hitting woman of her times, Nancy Wake will fascinate and thrill fans of fierce, brash, independent women, alike." (Lisa Wingate, author of Before We Were Yours)

©2020 Ariel Lawhon (P)2020 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about Code Name Hélène

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Unstoppable! What an amazing story!

When I say unstoppable I’m firstly talking about Nancy Wake and secondly about this audiobook. I couldn’t wait to hear everything right to the end. I’ve always known the story of the White Mouse but this was wonderfully written and the narrator was custom made for the job. Highly recommend this to anyone and wish every Aussie would hear it. Her name should be remembered in every household as an example of magnificent spirit and determination to see justice done and evil vanquished

14 people found this helpful

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Diluting history

Dreadful. Given Nancy Wake’s well documented, amazing adventures and service why would you make things up? Lazy research and poor writing. The Narration, so many things annoying, but none more so than Henri Fiocca with an American accent! As for Elizabeth Debicki, very tall, thin woman playing the average height and curvy Nancy. Really you couldn’t find an actress that looked more like the character.
Stop changing history, ie one of example is when she parachute into France, it is disrespectful. As if she would put all those lives a risk to apply lipstick. Yes she loved her comforts, especially her lipstick, but not a crucial moments like this when live were at stake. She is quoted as saying she asked the crew to push her out when it was time. A very big difference to made up adventure.

If you want something close to reality read Peter Fitzsimions’ book which has been well researched and well written, it includes many direct source references to Nancy, her style and activities. Her story is amazing and captivating, it doesn’t deserved to be played with for the sake of lazy writing.

11 people found this helpful

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Astonishing!

Well researched, authentic absorbing and amazing. Performance was good- accents worked pretty well. However, I found the shifting time zones terribly confusing. It's always harder to do this successfully in an audio book, because you can't flick back and check where you are.

4 people found this helpful

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Mills & Boone Romance

Why would you take a story about a brave Australian man fighting the Germans in World War II and turn into a Mills and Boone romance? This woman's story should be told, but not in this facile way.
I got so annoyed with it that I have returned it.
I should have taken more notice of the "Based on" in the title. I was quite shocked that the 1st chapter there is a conversation where Nancy is furious when a fellow spy worries she might not like the sight of blood so she threatens to hit him in the face with a "jam rag" yelling at him that women bleed every month and don't care about a bit of blood!! I was shocked, The Author is writing about a woman who was an important part of the resistance and whom I'm sure she would have drawn the distinction between a natural flow and people being shot and bleeding. Arial lost me very soon after that, appalling dialogue that doesn't ring true.

3 people found this helpful

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Great...but fact v fiction blurs the story

Loved it, but it was brutal at times. The negative aspect, was never really knowing where truth and artistic licence crossed paths. With one main character completely fictional, it discredited the story, for me.

1 person found this helpful

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excellent

loved this book from start to finish. A great insight into that time in history and the Heriones who were so brave.

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Nancy Wake

A very well researched book. Gripping read. Nicely put together. Great performance. Easy to visualize as you listen to the story. A story we all need to know about as one of the heroines of WWIII.

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Brilliant

I can not recommend this book highly enough. Wonderful story. I will read her actual autobiography now. What a life.
I was trying to rush through the day to get to ‘story time’. Chuckle. The story itself is amazing. Based on a true events which I prefer, so I may be genre bias here. In saying that, I was enthralled with the characters, I couldn’t get enough,
Another performance that was enjoyable to listen to as well.

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A bit disappointing

A very interesting story, but over-written. As an Australian listener, I found some of the word usage wrong - eg elevator instead of lift, and sidewalk instead of footpath. These are terms that were not used by Australians or British people in those days, and not now very much either. The number of different accents was a difficult job for the narrator. She did a reasonable job.

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Not bad

Focussed too much on romance, overshadowed the horror that was WW2, and the Nazi regime

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.