An extraordinary wartime memoir, combining the best kind of adventure story with a coming of age testimony of unforgettable resonance and poignancy. September 2011, Halkidiki, Northern Greece. A solitary 86 year-old man gazes across an Aegean headland, knowing that he must finally confront his past.
He begins to write…September 1939, Nieppe, Northern France. 14 year-old Stephen is living with his family, 25 kilometres from Ypres. His French mother battles with her encroaching blindness.
Failing to escape the advancing German army, his English father can no longer look after the war graves that cast so heartbreaking a shadow across the region. Stephen and his friend Marcel embark upon their great adventure: collecting souvenirs from strafed convoys and crashed Messerschmitts. But their world turns dark when arrested and imprisoned for sabotage and threatened with deportation or the firing squad.
Upon his release, and still only 16, Stephen is recruited by the French Resistance. Growing up under the threat of imminent betrayal, he learns the arts of clandestine warfare, and – in a moment that haunts him still – how to kill…Such was the impact of Stephen Grady’s work for the French Resistance, (especially during the countdown to D-Day and its bloody aftermath) that he was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the American Medal of Freedom.