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The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis    by Wes Davis order for
Ariadne Objective
by Wes Davis
Order:  USA  Can
Crown, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The German commander of Fortress Crete made a critical mistake when he dismissed the substantial Partisan movement on the island as 'nothing more than a few gangs of cattle thieves'.

A year after one of their generals was kidnapped by these cattle thieves, the Germans were forced to surrender in May, 1945. The two remaining high ranking officers who had overseen the island's brutal occupation were convicted of special war crimes and executed two years later.

The story of what happened on Crete during World War II and the role of the underground in the resistance movement is the subject of The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete From the Nazis.

The Mediterranean island of Crete was to be one of the central staging areas from which Hitler could launch attacks to dominate the Middle East. Of course the Nazi military leaders never imagined they would encounter a resistance force as clever and determined as the island's partisans and the handful of eccentric British intelligence officers who supported them.

The backbone of the resistance movement became a series of audacious sabotage attacks that disrupted the German forces and ultimately led to the kidnapping of one of their highest ranking officers.

The stuff that legends are made of and espionage novels written about, the gentlemen spies discussed in this book were as eccentric and brave as any created by authors of fiction after the war. They might not have been as sophisticated as James Bond or have his resources, but these men were certainly as clever and daring as the legendary 007.

Patrick Leigh Fermor, a Byronic figure and future travel writer had, as a teenager, walked across Europe during Hitler's rise to power and was infiltrated into occupied Crete with three other men.

Fermor's associates included John Pendlebury, a swashbuckling archaeologist who sported a glass eye and swordstick, and Xan Fielding and Sandy Rendel, two men who would follow writing careers after the war.

Teaming up with the locals, these British espionage agents worked diligently to make life on Crete as difficult as possible for the invaders. This chronicle of the men's Cretan adventures, which culminates with the kidnapping, is as entertaining as any work of fiction. If you enjoy this type of swashbuckling adventure tale that just happens to also be true you'll find this a difficult book to set down.

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