The Saboteur The Aristocrat Who Became France's Most Daring Anti-Nazi Commando

Cover image for The Saboteur
Publication Date: December 5, 2017

Hardcover: 9780062322524

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 Rochefoucald, 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 Rochefoucald was raised in magnificent chateaux and educated in Europe’s finest schools. When the Nazis invaded and imprisoned his father, La Rochefoucald escaped to England and learned the dark arts of anarchy and combat—cracking safes and planting bombs and killing with his bare hands—from the officers of Special Operations Executive, the collection of British spies, beloved by Winston Churchill, who altered the war in Europe with tactics that earned it notoriety as the “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” With his newfound skills, La Rochefoucauld returned to France and organized Resistance cells, blew up fortified compounds and munitions factories, interfered with Germans’ war-time missions, and executed Nazi officers. Caught by the Germans, La Rochefoucald withstood months of torture without cracking, and escaped his own death, 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, true thriller, The Saboteur is also a deep dive into an endlessly fascinating historical moment, telling the untold story of a network of commandos that battled evil, bravely worked to change the course of history, and inspired the creation of America’s own Central Intelligence Agency.

Praise for The Saboteur

“Chilling and powerful… This is first-class adventure writing, which, coupled with a true-life narrative of danger and intrigue, adds up to all-night reading.”

The New York Times

“Compelling…written in a novelistic style…and a lively picture of a brave man.”

The Wall Street Journal

The Saboteur is completely engrossing and elegantly told, which means any reader of this work will inevitably want more and more.

The Washington Post

The Saboteur, story of French Resistance fighter, reads like engaging fiction.

USA Today

In his book The Saboteur Kix paints a gripping portrait of a person whose bravery doesn’t allow him to succumb to the pressures of the day.

Vanity Fair

This thoroughly sourced account is highly readable and effectively showcases the life of a fascinating, complex man whose too-little-known role in the Resistance will be of great interest to followers of WWII history.

– Booklist

A winner: the stories are fascinating, the pages nearly turn themselves, and La Rochefoucauld is a true hero.

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Kix had to do first-class detective work using primary sources to create this riveting story. VERDICT Fans of World War II history will eagerly read this story, which is almost as exciting as a James Bond novel.

– Library Journal

Set in motion by a steamed-open letter and a burning hatred of Hitler, a dashing young aristocrat embarks on a campaign of clandestine warfare. The Saboteur sounds like a World War II spy thriller, but in fact it is a rip-roaring true story, wonderfully told by Paul Kix.

– Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of 13 Hours and Lost in Shangri-La

The Saboteur is a mesmerizing book that builds up propulsive momentum until its final twists. It was a joy to disappear into this story. Like only the very best historical biographers, Paul Kix has turned years of deep reporting into a tightly coiled narrative that you never want to put down.

– Eli Saslow, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President