Based on a little-known true story, The Innocents Within offers a unique and untold view of wartime France and the Holocaust.
The scene is the high plateau of the Massif Central. The time is the bitter winter of 1944. In Le Lignon, a Protestant village in a Catholic country, and in similar villages nearby, Jews both foreign and French have been given shelter, food, and false papers prepared by the local forger, and have sometimes been led to Switzerland or Spain by local guides. The organizer and sustainer of this massive conspiracy is Le Lignon's Protestant pastor, a man with a wife, four children, and, unfortunately for him, ever-increasing notoriety.
Rumors about Le Lignon have begun to reach the regional SS chief, whose job it is to fill trains with Jews for deportation to the east. This late in the war, it has become increasingly difficult to gather enough Jews to meet his quota. But in Le Lignon alone he may be able to fill an entire train.
Also living in the rectory, as much loved by the pastor as his own children, is a German Jewish girl whose parents disappeared in the first weeks of the war. The pastor and his wife took her in as a child. Now eighteen, she has grown into a beauty.
Into this mix, badly wounded, crashes an American fighter pilot who is scarcely older. He is brought to the rectory. The pastor will know what to do.
Centered on a real village and real people who defied the Nazis, The Innocents Within is about courage and love, religion and danger. Most of all it is a study of innocence against a background of the most monstrous evil ever known. A compelling and moving story to the last word, it shows a major novelist at the peak of his powers.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Robert Daley has written more than twenty books, including such highly acclaimed works as Prince of the City, Year of the Dragon, Portraits of France, and, most recently, Nowhere to Run. He served in the Air Force after college and knew firsthand certain of the planes that figure in this story. Later he worked six years as a New York Times correspondent based in France before resigning from the paper to concentrate on writing novels. He and his French-born wife keep homes in Conn-ecticut and Nice.
Advance Praise for The Innocents Within
"Through the warm illuminating mist of his flawless fiction, Robert Daley has opened a portal into the past, to a time when courage was rarely an option and heroes unsung greatly outnumbered those we celebrated. The Innocents Within is a story that transports you back to a time when duty and honor and love were thought to be forever. Do yourself a favor and step aboard Mr. Daley's time machine."
--Paul Lindsay, author of Freedom to Kill
"Robert Daley's The Innocents Within tells the truth about a time of deceit and cruelty. I am in awe of his skill and touched by his compassion."
--John Weitz, author of Hitler's Diplomat and Hitler's Banker
"A wonderful, inspiring story from a talent who keeps getting bigger. Robert Daley brings the same kind of action, compassion, and knowledge to World War II that I've relished in his terrific novels about the NYPD."
--Ethan Black, author of The Broken Hearts Club
"Another huge and hypnotic read from Bob Daley, of a true episode of good and salvation among the evils and suffering of Nazi-occupied France. A fine telling of love and betrayal, of kindness buried within violence, of the spiritual profits of defiance." --Paul Dean, columnist