The Eagle Trail by Robert Rigby

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The Eagle Trail by Robert Rigby

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Beautifully researched WWII story about a boy fleeing arrest by the Nazis. Lots of interesting characters and great tension maintained throughout.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: April 2014
Publisher: Walker
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1406346667

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The Nazis have occupied Antwerp, where Paul lives with his English father and French mother. But Paul doesn't think things are too bad. Life is going on pretty much as normal if you are a teenaged boy, Paul feels. But Paul is wrong.

In the space of an afternoon, Paul's world is turned upside down. His father is shot in front of him, having been discovered as an early resistance organiser. His mother is arrested. And Paul finds himself fleeing for his life, hunted by the Nazis for what his father knew. The journey is a long and dangerous one - through Belgium and France for the Pyrenees and Spain and then, hopefully, for England. Every stage is dangerous but the final one - the Eagle Trail across the mountains - is the most perilous.

Will Paul survive? Will the brave men and women who help him survive? And which of them can he trust?

I thought this was a great story. It's beautifully researched and sheds a lot of light on the way in which the resistance movement in occupied France began. Throughout The Eagle Trail people are beginning to feel their way towards the ways in which they can be useful to the struggle. And others are making the opposite bet, throwing in their lots with the occupiers who seem almost invincible. The division of France into a north with a very visible occupation force and the south as a "free zone" is clearly explained and will probably come as a surprise to many readers.

There is a great cast of supporting characters - from the ex-racing driver priest to the fiery Josette - but the book really belongs to Paul, who sees his father killed, loses his mother to arrest by the Nazis, and is asked to grow up literally overnight. He goes through every emotion - shock, fear, anger, resentment - but his determination suffuses every page. Paul never gives up and he displays a level of courage that you can't help but admire.

It's not easy to take this level of research and accuracy and blend it with an exciting story but Rigby has done a grand job of just that. The Eagle Trail maintains tension throughout and I was rooting for Paul through every step of his dangerous journey. I hope to meet him again.

For more accurate and exciting historical fiction, try Auslander or Sektion 20, both by Paul Dowswell.

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Buy The Eagle Trail by Robert Rigby at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Eagle Trail by Robert Rigby at


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