About the book
About the author
Saskatchewan-born, Robert J. Young received his doctorate from the London School of Economics, and is currently Emeritus Professor of History and Fellow of United College at the University of Winnipeg. He is a recipient of the University’s principal award for Excellence in Teaching, and its principal award for Excellence in Research. He was also named Canadian Professor of the Year by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education. The first of his 10 books was published by Harvard University Press, the most recent by the Winnipeg Free Press. His biography of one 20th-century French statesman was awarded the Canadian Historical Association’s Ferguson Prize for the best book in non-Canadian history; and another biography of a French diplomat and historian received the Manitoba Writers’ Guild’s Isbister prize for the best work of non-fiction.
Since their last conversation about how best to proceed, the Colonel explained to Michel, he had come up with a way to exploit Renaudel, a way partly inspired by Michel’s own earlier suggestion of a planted document. While they did have enough circumstantial evidence to support shifting him to an office where he could do no harm, they had no concrete proof of his treason, certainly not enough to arrest him. Shifting him, as the Colonel had originally planned, would have had the singular advantage of depriving the Germans of further leaks, but the disadvantage of letting Renaudel go more or less unpunished — thereby leaving the defence ministry forever ignorant of how top-secret information was spirited away to the Germans once it arrived in the House of Ariège. A full-scale raid on the fashion house was out of the question. Such a step would be politically embarrassing to the government — to say nothing of its counterintelligence service — would surely provoke Monsieur Loriot to defend his legitimate enterprise through the courts, and would almost certainly take a huge amount of time to inspect every physical nook and cranny, every drawing, every fabric, every piece of equipment. What they needed was a secret of their own creation — Michel’s idea — one that might prove to be traceable from beginning to end, right through the system, much like the radium cocktails used for x-raying.
“Here’s the cocktail,” the Colonel said, waving the document from the Quai d’Orsay. “It’s a fake, and we’re going to plant it on Renaudel.”