The Eagle Has Landed is a World War II novel that manages to be both exciting and nuanced.
The novel is about a 1943 German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill in a commando operation, which Himmler thinks might make Hitler happy.
Himmler selects Colonel Max Radl, a terminally ill officer, to coordinate the top secret mission.
By coincidence, a spy living on a remote, unprotected stretch of English coastline reports that Churchill will be staying overnight nearby on November 6.
Radl pulls together an unlikely team led by Kurt Steiner, a German officer in disgrace for helping a Jew, with aid from Irish Republican Army operative Liam Devlin and hindrance from Harvey Preston, a captured English soldier who defected to the SS.
Steiner’s dozen commandos parachute in to join Devlin, who had already secured the necessary equipment for the snatch.
Then things start going wrong.
Novelist Jack Higgins’ characters are puzzling, contradictory personalities, not your typical war novel stereotypes. In fact, the Eagle’s battle-hardened German soldiers are too nice. Joseph Wambaugh’s Choirboys would be more believable. They’d fit in with American Colonel Shafto, who thinks nobody can run a war as well as he.
Despite that highly intriguing flaw, The Eagle lives up to his book jacket blurbs.
The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
Pocket Books ©1975 [paper] 1st ed. 390 p.
1975 bestseller #6. My grade: A-
© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni