Author(s): Wes Davis
In the bleakest years of the Second World War when it appeared that nothing could slow the advance of the German army, Hitler set his sights on the Mediterranean island of Crete, the ideal staging ground for domination of the Middle East. But German command had not counted on the strength of the Cretan resistance or the eccentric band of British intelligence officers who would stand in their way, conducting audacious sabotage operations in the very shadow of the Nazi occupation force. The Ariadne Objective tells the remarkable story of the secret war on Crete from the perspective of these amateur soldiers who found themselves serving because, as one of them put it, they had made 'the obsolete choice of Greek at school'. John Pendlebury, a swashbuckling archaeologist with a glass eye and a swordstick; Xan Fielding, a writer who would later produce the English translations of books like Bridge on the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes; Sandy Rendel, a future Times reporter, who prided himself on a disguise that left him looking more ragged and fierce than the Cretans he fought alongside; and Patrick Leigh Fermor, the future travel-writing luminary who, as a teenager in the early 1930s, walked across Europe, a continent already beginning to feel the effects of Hitler's rise to power. Having infiltrated occupied Crete, these British gentleman spies teamed with Cretan partisans to carry out a cunning plan to disrupt Nazi manoeuvres, culminating in a daring, high-risk plot to abduct the island's German commander. In this thrilling and little known episode of Second World War history, Wes Davis paints a brilliant portrait of some extraordinary characters and tells a story of triumph against all the odds.
The incredible true story of the WWII spies, including Patrick Leigh Fermor and John Pendlebury, who fought to save Crete and block Hitler's march to the East
"An exciting, fast-moving and crisply written adventure story... Highly recommended" The Literary Review "Wes Davis's fast-paced tale of wartime sabotage reads more like an Ian Fleming thriller than a mere retelling of events" Wall Street Journal "What really sets the book apart from the host of look-alikes is Davis's dedication to fleshing out the eccentricity of the main players... It is surely a good thing that we no longer associate war with adventure; if it were always as appealing as Davis has made it here, we would grow to love it too much" Daily Beast
WES DAVIS served for two years as assistant to the director of excavations at Kavousi in Eastern Crete, not far from the plateau where Patrick Leigh Fermor parachuted onto the island during WWII. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Princeton University and is a former assistant professor of English at Yale University. Editor of the Harvard University Press Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry, he has written for publications that include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Nation.