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Meet Robert de La Rochefoucald: the Most Interesting Man in the World

The Saboteur by Paul Kix.

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.

Reviews of The Saboteur

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 Rising Out of Hatred:The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist

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

– The Washington Post

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

Podcast Appearances

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The Saboteur: And Interview with Paul Kix

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Paul Kix and Fiona Mozley

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The Untold Stories of a WWII French Resistance Fighter

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Paul Kix Talks About His WW2 Thriller, The Saboteur

Want to see more?

Check out these photos from Robert de La Rochefoucald's personal family collection.

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