John F. Hanley



    After living in splendid isolation during the Covid-19 lockdown I have been able to complete the fourth novel in the Jack Renouf series - IRISH LASS and it was published early in June 2020.

    IRISH LASS – (4th Novel in the Jack Renouf series)

    July 1941

    Following on from Jack's adventures, after the failed Operation Ruthless, in neutral Portugal and Spain (DIAMONDS FOR THE WOLF), Lt Commander Ian Fleming, Deputy Director Naval Intelligence, sends him and a small team to neutral Southern Ireland. His mission is to acquire a merchant schooner similar to the one he escaped on from Portugal. Fleming is particularly interested in a vessel which has neutral status as the Special Operations Executive base in Helford, Cornwall, has been expanding its incursions into German Occupied France. It seems a simple enough task, if he isn't caught by the Irish authorities who might intern him for the duration.

    But IRISH LASS isn't just a merchant schooner and Jack meets Molly Farnham whose fiancé was killed when the Luftwaffe bombed Dublin weeks before. This Irish lass creates a whole new set of problems for him especially when Fleming comes up with Operation Lochaber and sends the schooner to German Occupied Jersey.

    Reeling under the onslaught of the Nazi invasion Stalin has begged his new ally, Winston Churchill, to mount an operation to recover the Channel Islands from the Germans. He hopes this will divert Hitler and make him withdraw troops to defend the only part of the British Isles he has captured. Churchill has a history of undertaking bold but expensive military missions but his planners have suggested that, before he accedes to Stalin's demands, he organises a first-hand reconnaissance of the German fortifications and forces currently installed in the islands. Jack's report from his previous "visit" has been studied by the planners but it is nearly nine months out of date. Aerial reconnaissance is of limited value so Fleming, now an expert in clandestine insertions into enemy occupied territory, decides that Jack must return. His rivals in the Secret Intelligence Service, especially Kim Philby, head of Section VX, are very interested in this mission and insist that one of their agents must take part.

    Fleming knows that there are already over 500 Irish nationals working in Jersey and these enjoy neutral status so what more natural than to send an Irish ship to the island with trade goods, and messages from home, especially if the Germans can be fooled into believing that it is being chased by the Royal Navy.

    What could possibly go wrong?



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