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Victoire Reviews

Victoire by Roland Philipps

Victoire: A Wartime Story of Resistance, Collaboration and Betrayal

Roland Philipps

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: The Bodley Head Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication date: 15 Apr 2021
ISBN: 9781847925817

With little training or support, Mathilde and her Polish collaborator, Roman Czerniawski, create a huge web of agents in a matter of weeks to form the first great Allied intelligence network of the Second World War.

4 stars out of 5
10 Apr 2021

"this is a deeply humane book, and humanly flawed"

Carré’s memoirs (originally published in 1959, revised in 1975), which Philipps has mined to good effect, show that she survived her tumultuous war in part because she resolutely continued to believe both in her own worth and that she would finally have revenge. ‘The narrative was as truthful as she could make it,’ Philipps comments, ‘while allowing her to sustain her sense of self.’ Ultimately Victoire is similarly forgiving towards this dynamic but volatile agent, choosing to focus on her ‘human contradictions and vulnerabilities, and her strenuous, sometimes heroic, attempts to overcome those’. In doing so this is a deeply humane book, and humanly flawed.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Saul David
28 Mar 2021

"It’s a grimly compelling story and Philipps tells it well"

It’s a grimly compelling story and Philipps tells it well. He fills in much unknown detail about Carré’s espionage career, the early work of France’s resistance movement and the German response. He adds nuance to the predicament in which Carré and many other collaborators found themselves, and reminds us of the risks she took for the Allied cause. Yet no amount of context and mitigation can truly exonerate Carré of that swift and self-centred decision to save herself by betraying her comrades and becoming Bleicher’s mistress.