Codename: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson | Blog Tour Extract | #CodenameMadeleine

A Mystic’s daughter flees Moscow on the eve of the Great War.
A French soldier lies wounded on the Western Front.
A German officer veers between loyalty and integrity. An English courtesan reclines on a sea of books. Each will make a journey that changes history.

The constellations will force the Mystic’s daughter to make an impossible choice. To remain at her harp as the shadow of the war looms again – or join the top-secret Special Operations Executive (SOE). Bābouli to her Sufi father, Madeleine to the Gestapo, a lone mission to Occupied Paris promises to be the most hazardous of World War Two.

Inspired by the incredible true story of Noor Inayat Khan, a British resistance agent who served behind enemy lines in France in WWII as part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), CODENAME: MADELEINE is the most unexpected spy story ever told.

The daughter of a Sufi mystic and writer of children’s stories, Noor Inayat Khan was a harpist before she joined SOE and embarked on one of the most dangerous operations of WWII.  Arriving in Occupied Paris in 1943, she swapped her harp for a revolver, a cyanide pill and a clandestine Morse transmitter.

Teeming with tigers, zeppelins, elephants, U-boats, angels, assassins, chessmen, cyanide, beetles, butterflies and Rumi, CODENAME: MADELEINE revolves between Paris, London, Prague, India and Latin America. A kaleidoscope of love, war, music, betrayal, poetry and resistance, CODENAME: MADELEINE is the richly detailed, atmospheric and meticulously researched debut from leading counter-terrorism QC, Barnaby Jameson.



Paris, 1929


Noor perched with her harp resting on her shoulder. She placed her fingers in position and inhaled. Her hands began to weave across the strings. Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Minor came to life like a Venetian phantom, cloak flapping, mask jutting. The notes came, clear and effervescent, as if soaring into the Basilica di San Marco.

She remembered the words of Mademoiselle Monette.

‘The notes are a path. A path that was left for you – no one else.’

She closed her eyes as she followed the path.

Noor had once told her teacher a secret. The secret that drew her apart.

She saw music in colour.

Each note had its own streak. Poppy. Sapphire. Daffodil. Lime.

Holly. Fire. Amethyst. A line of notes made a rainbow. A song made a rainbow burst through a prism. A symphony made a rainbow erupt into fireworks. Music gave her the mindscape of an opium eater.

She had had the gift since childhood. She thought everyone was the same. She once asked Falinne what colours she saw in music.

Falinne looked frightened. Noor kept it to herself. Sometimes just the clink of a glass or the swing of a hinge produced a trace of colour. When music played, she walked through a meadow that pulsed with changing colour.

It made her feel alone, despite Inayat’s whisper.

‘Do not feel lonely. The entire Universe is inside you.’

It was not just the music. It was the dreams. The world that opened behind her closed eyelids was beyond Freud. Her dreams unveiled a carousel of painted horses undulating as they circled, their colours changing to the fairground chime as they spun. Her dreams took her to the pink dust of Jaipur, where she found she could speak to the temple monkey sitting on her arm. Her dreams took her to a hidden waterfall where the Mother of the Universe sat behind a curtain of water stroking a Bengal tiger with all her eight arms. Her dreams led her to a poppy field surrounded by mountains, laid for tea with a family of tame wolves. Her dreams led her into flight with Pteech-ka, whose wooden wings had come to life. She and Pteech-ka flew under the bridges of the Seine and soared up between the towers of Notre Dame.

‘Dreams,’ said Inayat once, ‘are the memories of the future.’

That night she dreamed of a long shore lapped with liquid turquoise. Baby turtles moved across the sand towards the moonlight on the water. She saw a young man she did not know. He wore stone-coloured trousers rolled at his ankles. He was walking barefoot in the shadows, a stone-coloured jacket thrown over his shoulder. He carried a pair of moccasins, a finger in each heel. He walked with the grace of a diver. Some of his footprints made an indent in the sand. Others were swallowed by the incoming tide.

Flying foxes jumped from the trees along the shore. Pink pigeons nested in the branches. A Mauritian stag watched from the cliff above. The man walked, hair in the wind, along the shore.

The setting changed. He was standing in the hills above Paris.

She was standing beside him, close enough to feel his heat. They were squinting at a point in the distance. They were watching the House of Blessings. The garden was full of soldiers.

My thanks to Sofia of Midas for the tour invitation and extract to share.

Barnaby Jameson is a QC with expertise in counter-terrorism involving Neo-Nazi terrorist groups and Islamic State. He has been involved in some of the most notorious terrorist cases of the century including plots to overthrow governments, plots to assassinate MPs and terrorist bombings in the UK and overseas.  His work has brought him into contact with clandestine agencies around the globe. CODENAME: MADELEINE is Barnaby’s first book in The Resistance series.

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