23 September 2015

German Spy, Josef Jakobs breaks into the world of Fiction

His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal  (from Amazon.com)
His Majesty's Hope - Susan Elia MacNeal
(from Amazon.com)
Josef Jakobs has broken into the world of fiction. Susan Elia MacNeal, an American novelist, has written a mystery series that features heroine Maggie Hope. Maggie swirls through the espionage corners of Britain. In His Majesty's Hope, Maggie takes on an undercover mission behind enemy lines in Germany. While Maggie is tip-toeing through the minefield of Nazi Germany, a dialogue takes place in London between a man named Hugh and John Cecil Masterman (chairman of MI5's XX Committee):

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“What about those who won’t turn?” Hugh asked. He knew about one captured German spy in particular, Josef Jakobs, who had parachuted into Ramsey in Huntingdonshire in January. Jakobs had been picked up by the Home Guard, who found that he’d broken his ankle when he landed. When arrested, he was still wearing his flying suit and carrying forged papers, a radio, British pounds, and a German sausage.

“He was tried in camera and found guilty under the Treachery Act of 1940. He was sentenced and executed by firing squad in the Tower of London only a week or so ago.”

“I see,” Hugh said.

“One of the other captured spies, hearing of Jakobs’s fate, has proved much more amenable. We’ve been able to persuade him to work as a double agent for us.” Masterman grimaced. “The key word to remember with double agents is disinformation. We feed them disinformation to send back to their contacts at Abwehr in Berlin. However—and this is a big however—we must also include some true information, to make the false seem credible. So it’s a game, really. A very, very high-stakes game.”

A seagull flying overhead shrieked. “Yes, sir.”

“Our prisoner’s a German, name of Stefan Krueger. You’ll be working with him.”

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Published in 2013, it's nice to see that the author has given a relatively accurate, albeit brief, portrayal of Josef Jakobs. The implication that Josef "won't be turned" isn't entirely accurate. On February 2, Josef accepted MI5's demands to work against the Germans, but his long hospitalization and the public nature of his capture meant they couldn't use him. But... it's fiction, as is the Stefan Krueger character. Overall readers give it 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Seems like it might be worth a read.

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