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Literature / Special Operations

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A four-book Young Adult World War II Spy Fiction series, by the author Craig Simpson. The series follows three Norwegian friends, Finn, Loki and Freya go from members of the local resistance, to fugitives to London, where they end up recruited by the Special Operations Executive Branch, and get sent on missions into the occupied countries.

  1. Dogfight
  2. Death Ray
  3. Operation Wolf Squadron
  4. Dead or Alive


  • Action Girl: All of the female SOE agents, but Freya is noted as the most athletic and best shot of the core cast even before joining the Special Operations Branch, due to being raised by an avid hunter.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Averted. Both Finn's sister Anna and Louise Laval from the fourth book date/get information from German pilots who express some decent and discomfort for typical Nazi sentiment, Anna's boyfriend Dieter is actually a spy and a devout Nazi, but Louise's boyfriend is sincere and sides with her and the others after finding out the truth.
  • Anyone Can Die: Every book has at least one major character death, partially to emphasize that War Is Hell.
  • Battle Couple: Frey and Loki, on occasion.
  • Beta Couple: Finn and Marieke provide an interesting example where the main character is in the beta couple, as he doesn't have a love interest in the first two books, while Freya and Loki are a couple from much earlier on.
  • The Brigadier: The SOE commander who runs the training schools is an actual brigadier general who is almost always referred to simply by his rank.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: Ned Grimmo treats Finn pretty bad but bonds with him more once they realize that they're both anti-Nazi.
  • Canine Companion: Finn adopts the British dog Oslo in the first book.
  • Category Traitor: Finn despises local policeman Anders Jacobsen for aiding the Gestapo, as well as Ned Grimmo, the stepson of a local facist collaborator (unaware that Ned despises his stepfather just as much for the same reasons, and also assumes that the Gunnersens are collaborators because Anna is dating a German soldier)
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Anyone who falls into the hands of the Gestapo suffers brutal questioning. Finn loses a tooth and a toenail to their pliers in the third book before escaping.
  • Communications Officer: Dutch SOE trainee Theo Drees is described as brilliant at coding.
  • Cool Big Sis: Finn's sister Anna, another resistance member who is good at her job and cares deeply for him. Both Laval sisters from the fourth book also impress their little brother in awe of their resistance work and kindness toward him.
  • Dirty Commies: The Paris communist resistance from the fourth book prove to be pretty ruthless, and willing to sacrifice their erstwhile allies.
  • Disappeared Dad: Finn's father went to England to fight for the RAF after Norway surrendered, and is presumed dead after being shot down on a mission.
  • Doting Grandparent: Marieke and her brother were Raised by Grandparents (their maternal ones) after their parents died in a flood. Their paternal grandfather Otto, back in Holland, is willing to help the resistance out of loyalty to his granddaughter despite not being an active resistance member.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Apparent spies or double agents turn out to be loyal to their original leader several times.
    • Dieter Braun and Hans Tauber in the first book initially seem to just be loyal Germans, then Finn comes to suspect that the two of them are secretly members of the resistance, a suspicion which is confirmed, although the two are actually Abwehr spies trying to bring down the Resistance for the Nazis.
    • In the second book Veronique initially seems to be a British agent on a mission, then apparently kills a fellow agent and goes rogue, The man actually died in an accident and she is still serving the Allies.
    • Also in the second book Jacques is sabotaging the mission for the Nazis, but only because they have his parents prisoner, with him also trying to manipulate the Nazis to free the prisoners and come out on top... just at the cost of seeing some of his allies as expendable.
    • Alan Munro in the fourth book had a good record as an agent but seemingly deserted with a lot of money. He is actually trying to save the life of his daughter, who is a prisoner the Gestapo are about to execute, but it remains a matter of concern just what he'll do to save her life ultimately he doesn't sell out anyone though.
  • Farm Boy: Loki's Dutch cousin Willem, who aides the main cast in the third book, is a brawny young farmer who wants to be a spy.
  • Good Shepherd: Father Amundsen in the first book, in a Good Is Not Soft way, as he always has smomething sympathetic to say except when he physically attacks a traitor who got several of his flock/fellow rebels killed or arrested.
  • I Have No Son!: In the fourth book, Laurent Laval disowned his niece for getting pregnant with a German baby and never acknowledges her existence except when threatening to kill her.
  • I Have Your Wife: In the third book, Major Gerriet, the officer training the Dutch recruits is forced to sell them out due to his wife and daughters being hostages of the Germans.
  • Heroic Seductress: Both Finn's sister Anna and Louise Laval are heroic, yet complicated, versions, acting like seductive collaborators to get information from German pilots, but possibly developing real feelings for the pilots in the process. Anna's boyfriend -who she doesn't appear to have ever had sex with- is aware of what she's doing and is actually using her to spy on the underground, while Louise's boyfriend got her pregnant, getting her shunned by part of her family, although this causes him to provide aide to the resistance.
  • Last of Her Kind: A variant. Marieke was the only Dutch trainee who wasn't parachuted into Holland before Gerriet's treachery (which had seen anyone sent in captured) was revealed. Only three of those sent in before her live long enough to be rescued.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Major Gerriet's fate is left alone with a gun when his treachery (due to an I Have Your Wife situation) is exposed.
  • The Mole: Anders Jacobsen works for the Nazis but is actually a resistance member. Klaus Kiefer/Falcon the Living MacGuffin from the third book also spent time having infiltrated the German officer corps.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: In order to test whether their Dutch operation have been compromised, the Allies parachute a man who died of a broken neck, dressed up like a commando, into German territory, reasoning that if the Germans haven't compromised the network, then there people will report the man apparently died on impact with the ground, and if the Germans have compromised the network, they'll act as if everything is fine with him.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Loki has his moments of providing refreshingly light joviality.
  • Relative Error: In the first book, Loki is jealous of a British commando who parachutes into the area and who his crush Freya clearly knows and cares about. He turns out to be her older half-brother (who was sent into the mission because of his family ties in the area).
  • Remember the New Guy?: Marieke, Bram and their fellow Dutch trainees are introduced in the third book as friends of the main characters who've trained with them before, but were never mentioned in the previous book.
  • Sibling Team: Paris resistance members the Truffant brothers and Jacques and Amelie Levefbre in the second book, the Laval's in book four.
  • Tag Along Kid: While the main characters are fairly young themselves, Jaan from the third book (the younger brother of an arrested Resistance member who flees to England to warn the allies) and Ross from the fourth book are younger than them and help out out of necessity.
  • The So-Called Coward: Otto considers himself a coward for not being a full-time resistance member, but is willing to die to protect his granddaughter and her friends.
  • Token Enemy Minority: Max from the second book, who is a German Jew working as an Allied spy.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the fourth book, Mouniser Moreau the theater owner helps the characters escape a building about to blow up but vanishes in the aftermath as they get out of town.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The fourth book ends describing the character's post war lives, with a And the Adventure Continues line about Finn and his friends.