Cover Image: The Shadow Network

The Shadow Network

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As with The Silk Code by the same author I also really enjoyed this. I am loving reading historical novels at the moment especially this era. Really interesting reading how German refugees were treated in England as I didn't realise this was the case. Can't wait for the next book!

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This is the second book in the WW2 secret agent series. Lilli Bergen is a half Jewish German woman living in Berlin with her widowed German father. During the terrible events on the ‘Night of broken glass’ Lillie’s father is captured and sent to a camp. She fears she may never see him again. Lilli herself manages to escape and flees to London to stay with a friend. She soon settles in and finds a job she loves as a night club singer. To her horror one evening she is rounded up along with other Jewish refugees and transported to the Isle of Man and confined as a prisoner. Lilli attracts the attention of the Political Warfare Executive who have a secret radio station broadcasting propaganda to German soldiers and sailors. They need a talented singer and Lilli fits the bill. She is only too happy to show her allegiance to the British and quickly becomes part of the team. One of the team is Neil Callaghan who we were first introduced to in The Silk Code. His sister Nancy being the main character. Lilli is now enjoying her life until one day a new member joins the team. He is Bren Murphy an ex boyfriend of hers in Berlin. Lilli was sure he had betrayed her father leading to his arrest. He’s now using another name alerting Lillie’s suspicions as to his intentions although he appears to be helping the Allies. She needs to be sure of his allegiances before confiding in her colleagues. And so, the intrigue develops into a riveting tale of romance, war, drama and suspense. I must say I found myself holding my breath more than once. The author has meticulously researched history for both The Silk Code and The Shadow Network both of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. Although a series they work excellently as stand alone reads. I look forward to number 3! My thanks to HQ, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read and review.

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Lilli Bergen's life is turned upside down when her Father is captured by the Nazi's.

His crime?

Having been married to Lill's Mother, who was a Jew. Lilli herself being half Jewish is told to flee and hide by her Father before he is captured.

She doesn't want to leave him, but eventually see common sense, and flees to a neighbouring apartment. She soon learns that it was her Irish ex-boyfriend who has betrayed the family, and see vows to steer well clear of him.

Lilli soon finds herself in England, working as a singer in nightclub, before she is made to flee again, this time to the Isle of Man. It is here that she is recruited (for her voice) by the Political War Executive as part of a secretive mission to foil the Nazi's.

Lilli may be German, but she has no loyalty to the country or political party that cost her her Father. She wants to help in anyway that she can. If that means she has to pose as a singer for a fictional radio station, then so be it.

Lilli's new world is shattered when a new 'recruit' appears at the station. Her ex-boyfriend, Bren.

She doesn't understand what he is doing there, as she is certain that he would never betray the Nazi's, as he holds so many of their views himself. She pretends not to know who he is, so she can find out what he is doing, and who for.

She doesn't realise until it is too late that she has put herself in grave danger.

Can she save herself, and those around her before it's too late?

The Shadow Network is another brilliant WW2 novel from Deborah Swift, and I can't wait for the next.

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This follows on from her first Book `The Silk Code' this one brings to life the Radio Aspidistra campaign which used a Sussex-based, high-powered, mainly underground transmitter (nicknamed Aspidistra after a popular song by Gracie Fields) to send out ‘fake news’ radio station broadcasts to unsuspecting Germans. It's as gripping as the first book & brings lots of un-taught history from WW11 to life as our Hero's & Heroine battle the Bad people . It keeps you gripped from start to finish #NetGalley, #GoodReads, #FB, #Instagram,#, #<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="200 Book Reviews" title="200 Book Reviews"/>, #<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="Professional Reader" title="Professional Reader"/>, #<img src="" width="80" height="80" alt="Professional Reader" title="Professional Reader"/>.

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In this excellent historical fiction novel, Deborah Swift draws readers’ attention to the world of black propaganda and the treatment of German refugees by the British government during World War II. Following protagonist Lilli Bergen, daughter of a radio engineer and half-Jewish, readers explore life in British detention camps for German refugees in the first years of the war and the subjectivity of their usefulness and threat to the British war effort. Lilli, a singer with a knack for engineering, becomes a part of one of the German black propaganda broadcasts, singing over radio broadcasts to German to send misleading information and propaganda to German civilians. However, Lilli runs into Bren Murphy, her Irish ex-boyfriend whom she thinks denounced her father to the Nazis, at the Political Warfare Executive under a new name -- and something doesn’t feel right about him being here. Swift’s characters are fascinatingly lifelike and incredibly complex, and readers are sure to enjoy Lilli’s experiences with the PWE and the world of radio in the war effort. The locations, while critical, serve as a fantastic background to this dynamic, enigmatic, and morally questionable cast of character. Swift has brought the uncertainty and tension of the black propaganda war effort to the front of this novel in a way that readers are sure to enjoy.

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Excellent story. Engaging throughout with some great characters.
Thoroughly enjoyable.
Second in the series but I read it as a standalone book and really enjoyed it.

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What a great book this was to read. Great characters you got into from the start and a storyline that really leaves you hooked that you want to read on and finish the book! All the signs of a great book for me and I highly recommend this one!

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Thank you for the chance to read this ARC in return for my honest opinion

This is the second in a series but it’s possible to read it as a stand-alone book and enjoy it.

It is well researched and well written and delves into the lives of ‘alien’ interns and spying in WW2 .

I found it slow to start but once I got into it it was a joy to read ( in the way that any book about war could be perceived as a joy)

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I enjoyed this World War Two offering and found it very well written with developed characters. However, I did struggle to get into the story and think I was a good way into the novel before I felt truly invested in the narrative.

The story opens with the terrible Night of Glass in Berlin where Lilli Bergen is separated from her father, knowing that the chances of seeing him again are incredibly small. She is traumatised by the thought of her father’s fate, encouraging her to flee Germany and move to London. Despite being a working refugee, she is arrested late at night, considered an “alien” to the country and sent to the settlement camps on the Isle of Man. Miserable and alone, events turn to Lilli’s favour as she is given an opportunity to use her background to transmit propaganda and fake news to the enemy.

Shifting the story to Woburn, this is near to the famous Bletchley Park, although it is never referenced in the story. Lilli works on a team of POWs and engineers, broadcasting fake radio programs and interviews that the Germans will pick up on, hoping to reduce moral and trust in Hitler. It’s the long game with little evidence of their broadcasts having an impact, but it makes Lilli feel she is doing something for the war effort… and hopes her father might be out there, somewhere, hearing her voice.

When a figure from her past joins the radio team, this is when I thought the story became more interested. I was fascinated by Bren’s actions and how he would fit in with Lilli’s team, as well as his constant conflict with Neil. Bren’s behaviours had my heart in my mouth and I wanted him to be discovered for his true intentions. But, as true to history, it takes a lot of investigating before any concrete evidence confirms fears about Bren’s true intentions.

I liked this spy element and found I was learning about other ways that the war effort worked to try and salvage German operations. I could understand character frustrations because they do not see how much of an impact their work is having, coupled with having to work alongside the enemy because of the prisoners’ language skills. It was a tough time but Lilli, for the most part, remains positive and determined. This made her more likable as a character. Furthermore, the fact that this is a story about Germans on British soil made the narrative more refreshing, as most stories have been about surviving in occupied France.

Although this is part of a series, I certainly did not notice. This was a relief, as this is the first book I have read by this author! I enjoyed learning about another element of history, despite this being fiction, and thought it was evident that Swift has researched this period in depth. I liked seeing Lilli survive from being uprooted from her German home to becoming respected in England, showing grit and determination along the way.

With thanks to HQ Digital and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The Shadow Network is the second book of The Secret Agents series. We are introduced to Lilli a refugee, Jewish from Berlin who managed to escape after her father was taken. All Lilli wants to do is her part to help the Allies win so she can see her father again. Incarcerated on the Isle Of Man by the English for being German until she has her chance working on the radio. It was an interesting read to learn about the campaign to sabotage the German forces. The book is filled with suspense and a slow building love story, jealousy and bravery. I have often read historical WW2 novels that involve Allies secret agents, to read and learn of an enemy agent was also interesting. A little slow to start and the ending felt unfinished. It can be read as a standalone. Lilli is a young strong independent woman the male characters that surround her complement her character.
I would like to thank HQ, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this complimentary copy for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
#TheShadowNetwork #NetGalley.

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The Shadow Network was a fun way to learn about what might have happened in WW2. There was enough truth within the story that I knew I would be digging deeper into the Shadow Network. I use historical fiction books to guide me in researching and this story is my new best friend.

I use historical fiction to picture what it might have been like for my relatives in England during WW2. I use historical fiction to learn of some of the struggles. Stories like this one humanize the War.

The Shadow Network is full of action and suspense. The story centers around a radio station that sends false information to Germany. Total brilliance. They used German POWs and enemy aliens to broadcast and entertain.

When a spy works his way into the Shadow Network things get very interesting. There is a man he was supposed to kill. There is a woman he has a past with. He is an IRA member answering the Nazi sympathizers. The question is will he get caught and how?

So many twists. So much unexpected. So many Oh Wow moments. All of this made for a very interesting read.

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A gripping tale of wartime subterfuge, spies, saboteurs and black propaganda, The Shadow Network certainly does not disappoint!
Well-written, rounded characters tell the story of British propaganda during WW2 detailing the use of subterfuge German radio stations purportedly reporting from Occupied France, but actually run by the British Political Warfare Executive. This story shines a light on a little known part of our WW2 history and the author's detailed research really shines through in the writing.
I loved the way in which the characters come to life, their frailties, hopes and dreams all bringing depth and believability to their story. And this is a story both fascinating and thrilling, detailing just some of the hidden antics which actually took place during this time period. I found myself willing them to take action and win through! A thoroughly enjoyable and engaging read especially for anyone interested in this time period. I especially enjoyed the author's notes at the end of the book detailing the real historic facts.

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Brilliant! Loved this novel about the input made by the Political Warfare Executive to WW2. The characters seemed so real and true. I almost felt as if I was amongst the Allies as they were broadcasting across the airwaves, both with song and false news and propaganda. Deborah Swift so obviously thoroughly researched her subject which is based upon both the PWE and SOE activities. An extremely interesting part of our history which is has lain dormant under the Official Secrets Act until now.

Exciting, absorbing and a great page turner of commitment, dedication, treason and love.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers HQ Digital for this advance copy.

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A great WW2 thriller from the author. Lilli is a very likeable character and the story is good. Recommended read if you like a bit of spying and a good thrilling story with great characters and a baddy.

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A sequel to ‘The Silk Code’ this novel would also stand alone. Lilli is a half Jewish German girl who flees Germany for England after Kristallnacht when her father is arrested. Interned as an enemy alien she is found to be a singer at the very time the propaganda dept are looking for native Germans to record radio broadcasts to send to Germany giving false propaganda. She is getting on well when the person who was responsible for her father’s arrest turns up as a new recruit. Convinced that something is going on when he gives a different name to the one she knows him by Lilli starts to dig into his motives. A great story and one that kept me reading long past bed time in order to finish. Thanks to netgalley and HQ for the opportunity to read in exchange for this personal review.

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A fine follow-up to The Silk code.

"The Shadow Network" opens in pre-war Germany, where Hitler's Nazi party has begun its purge of undesirables. Lilliana Bergen, a half-Jewish college student, is forced to flee the country after her father is taken by the Brownshirts. She arrives in England but after a short interlude there, is interred at a camp on the Isle of Man. Soon fate steps in when it is discovered she can sing, and she is recruited to work for a particular radio network which broadcasts false information and propaganda to the Germans troops.

The story then beings to pick up pace, as Lilli finds her place in the team, and is soon working hard to undermine the Nazi war effort. Complications with her feelings for a colleague, her desire to use her skills as a radio expert to further the work, and her discovery of a possible Nazi conspiracy all add up to a racy tale.

The book reads very much like to previous one - characters are sufficiently fleshed out, the era is expertly drawn, and the research is impeccable. The mood of Britain and how many people viewed the German refugees is harrowing, plus the Political Warfare Executive and the work they carried out are all real. Some of the characters in the book actually worked there. Both topics are starkly hard-hitting in current times.

There are several sub-plots woven into the story which work well to explain the motives and exploits of various factions at play during WW2, both in Europe and Britain. Lili has some hard choices to make as she picks apart the mystery she has uncovered.

This is Deborah Swift's second book in her WW2 spy series, but can be read on its own. Heartily recommended for fans of espionage, wartime thriller and spy books.

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If you've ever wanted to yell at a character, "Don't snoop in that room! The villain is coming!" I think you'll want to read "The Shadow Network" by Deborah Swift. Lilliana Bergen, a German college student, seeks refuge in England after her father is taken by the Brownshirts in 1939. Although Lilliana experienced some vary harrowing experiences, she eventually lands on her feet. A radio network that broadcasts false information to the Germans wants a singer. They've learned about Lilliana's singing talent and offer her the job.

Thus begins her career in World War II's fake news industry. Lilliana also finds she's attracted to coworker Neil Callahan, who walks with a cane and is burdened by a dark secret. In addition, both have signed the Official Secrets Act and cannot speak about what their department actually does. Naturally secrets attract people-- dangerous people-- who want to know those secrets, especially during wartime.

Deborah Swift has added an excellent set of resources at the end of the book. Even though Lilliana and Neil are not real, many of the events are.

I recommend "The Shadow Network" and Swift's previous WWII book, "The Silk Code" if you like to read about WWII espionage. In addition, Swift has many other historical novels that cover a number of time periods. I've enjoyed all that I've read.

Thank you to NetGalley for this advance release copy.

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Deborah Swift has crafted compelling and well - rounded characters set to a backdrop of danger and secrecy that keeps readers wanting more. The Shadow Network is the second in the ww2 series and does not disappoint with her ability to blend the richness of historical context with a gripping plot. Swift presents the tragic character of Neil who became caught up in pro-fascist sabotage in Britain in The Silk Code and creates a heroic and redeeming arc in this novel as he proves his allegiance to Britain and the fight against Nazi Germany.

I enjoyed the idea of having a radio station that broadcasts fake news to the Nazis and their allies and this presents a different side to the war effort. Swift sensitively explores the difficult position that many Germans felt when fleeing the Nazi regime and becoming refugees in countries like Britain. The novel's female protagonist, Lilli Bergen is Jewish and German and perfectly articulates the precarious situation of wanting to fight against Germany, but still seen as a threat after fleeing Berlin in fear.

The element of romance added a layer of depth to the idea that in times of war and crisis many people change and are not always who they used to be before. This idea was emphasised through the love triangle of Neil, Lilli and her ex-boyfriend and IRA / Nazi sympathiser that created intrigue and tension.

Overall, this is a captivating sequel that explores a side of British ww2 history that played a vital part in the war effort and is coupled with exciting and emotive characters.

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The Shadow Network takes us back to the world of WW2 espionage that she introduced in The Silk Code. This story features Neil Callaghan from the earlier book but it is a separate story about a different aspect of Britain’s secret war against Germany. It centres on the work of the Political Warfare Executive which pumped out black propaganda to the Reich. It was a significant part of the British war effort, pioneering tactics that we see used in conflicts nowadays. It’s fascinating stuff and deserves to be better known. Swift, as ever, writes with authority and I loved those parts of the book.

The social background to the story also gives vivid insights into the world of the time. The heroine, Lilli Bergen, is a half-Jewish German, who we first meet living in Berlin. Swift gives some idea of the reality of life for Jews at the time. Lilli’s (non-Jewish) father disappears into the camps – her mother is already dead – and Lilli flees to Britain. There, she thinks she is safe until she is caught up in the anti-German hysteria that saw Jewish refugees rounded up alongside Nazi sympathisers and interned on the Isle of Man. Swift catches the terror of Jews who had lived under a police state being suddenly ordered from their homes to live, without family or friends, behind barbed wire.

Fortunately for Lilli, the Political Warfare Executive needs a German singer to entertain on a radio show designed to appeal to German soldiers. The songs are interspersed with propaganda designed to undermine morale.

In her new job she meets an old boyfriend from Germany – somebody she believes to be a Nazi collaborator. Instead of denouncing him to the police, she decides to investigate on her own. It’s a trope of this sort of fiction (one I’ve been accused of myself) that your hero will find themselves in a situation where they have to undertake a risky job without any kind of backup, although they are surrounded by people who could easily help them. Swift does a good job of explaining why Lilli insists on becoming a (frankly unconvincing) Mata Hari even when she has clear evidence that her ex-boyfriend is a wrong ’un, but I did struggle to suspend my disbelief. I had particular problems when she gets engaged to the villain and moves in with him. I know it was wartime and that people let things slip a little, but I was surprised that nobody seems to have thought this was odd. What, to me, was even odder was that, though the man is a cad and a bounder, he accepts that they will share a bedroom without actually having sex. That’s a necessary plot device, as there is a romantic subplot in which Lilli is saving herself for her true love.

Will Lilli save the day and will her apparent philandering be forgiven? No plot spoilers here, but no great surprises in the book either.

Like all Deborah Swift’s books, this is a joy to read and the story bowls along fast enough to skim over the more implausible elements – and you learn a lot about the war years on the way.

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The Shadow Network is historical fiction set during World War Two.

This is the second book in the WW2 Secret Agent series, but it can easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.

Lilli Bergen is a refugee from Berlin. Her mother was Jewish, and Lilli escaped after her father was attacked and taken by the Brown Shirt Youth. She came to London, but was later rounded up with other women of German descent and sent to the Isle Of Man.

Lilli loved singing, and a previous short stint singing in a London club was noted on her records. Luckily, both her German heritage and her singing voice brought her to the attention of the Political Warfare Executives who were creating a radio station that would transmit false information to the German armies.

It is here that she reconnects with her student sweetheart, Irishman Bren. However, he now insists on being called Johnny and Lilli is very suspicious of the stories that he tells.

I really enjoyed the role of the radio network and the part it played in the war espionage campaign. Although this is a work of fiction, it is based on real events and was quite believable. I also liked the parts about Johnny; I often read war stories showing how British secret agents survived in Europe under the eyes of the enemy, so it was good to see the roles reversed on British soil.

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