Jan is a gripping thriller following the story of several lives and love affairs during a terrible period of European history spanning the years 1918-1940. It is also a tense, action-packed depiction of life in Nazi Germany and of desperate military and espionage activity behind enemy lines.
After the severe depression of the 1920s, Jan, a young Pole, is forced to seek work just across the border. His father and sister are brutally killed during the German invasion of Poland, and his brother remains on their small farm to assist the partisans. As Nazi persecution increases, Jan is asked to make a desperate flight to safety with a young girl called Renate, his employer’s German-Jewish daughter who has been offered shelter on a farm near the Belgian border.
After a frightening drive across wartime Nazi Germany, Jan eventually reaches England. Following specialist military training, he undertakes two missions: first with the partisans in Poland and then rejoining Renate to report on the build-up of German forces behind the Western front. In a dramatic climax, Jan and Renate are captured by the Gestapo and must escape in order to be smuggled across the border to Belgium and England.
Peter Haden’s new novel is a work of fiction based on a real journey made by his uncle. Jan also draws from Peter’s own military experience to present accurate military action scenes, including weaponry, flying and seamanship. The book has a full measure of human interest alongside the military and espionage storylines, and will appeal to readers who enjoy espionage thrillers. It will also appeal to fans of romance and historical fiction, and those who have enjoyed Peter’s previous two books, The Angry Island (Piatkus Books, 1986) and The Silent War (Piatkus Books, 1990).