Authors: Justine Saracen
Table of Contents
Antonia Forrester, an English nurse, is nearly killed while trying to save soldiers fleeing at Dunkirk. Embittered, she returns to occupied Brussels as a British spy to foment resistance to the Nazis. She works with urban partisans who sabotage deportation efforts and execute collaborators, before résistante leader Sandrine Toussaint accepts her into the Comet Line, an operation to rescue downed Allied pilots. After capture and then escape from a deportation train headed for Auschwitz, the women join the Maquis fighting in the Ardenne Forests. Passion is the glowing ember that warms them amidst the winter carnage until London radio transmits the news they’ve waited for. Huddled in the darkness, they hear the coded message, “the long sobs of the violins” signaling that the Allied Invasion is about to begin.
Waiting for the Violins
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Waiting for the Violins
© 2014 By Justine Saracen. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 13: 978-1-62639-909-2
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First Edition: March 2014
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Editors: Shelley Thrasher
Production Design: Susan Ramundo
Cover Design By Sheri ([email protected])
By the Author
The Ibis Prophecy Series:
The 100th Generation
Sarah, Son of God
Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright
Waiting for the Violins
Historical novels, whatever their fictional content, require research, and sometimes you need more than a few books or an afternoon of Googling. Sometimes the memories and experience of a living person are invaluable, and several such people have assisted me. I am therefore most grateful: to Celine Bissen, for offering information, documents and a visit to the gravesite of her heroic aunt; to Shirah Goldman, for sharing intimate family history and guiding me through a concentration camp; to Leon Van Audenhaege and Laci Meert, for supplying historical facts about Woluwe St. Lambert; to Julie Tizard for the nomenclature of flying; and to Laurence Schram for providing details on the Dossin Caserne under the German Occupation.
On the business end, not just for this novel, but for all its predecessors as well, I owe enormous gratitude to Shelley Thrasher for constant patient editing, to Sheri for a great cover drawn from the deep pool of her imagination, and to Radclyffe for making the whole endeavor possible in the first place.
To Celine Collin, killed while courier for the Ardenne Maquis, Aisik and Rywka Goldman, who perished at Auschwitz, and to all those who resisted the German occupation of Belgium.
Antonia Forrester brought the ambulance to a sudden halt at the top of a bluff. The sounds from the beach that had been muffled as she came up the hill now assaulted her with full force: the shouts of men, the thunder of artillery, the
of strafing shot all along the beach, the wind scattering sand against her windshield.
She jumped from the driver’s seat onto the ground and gawked for a moment at the terrifying panorama of a fleeing army. Lines of men in the hundreds of thousands striated the gray sand like swarms of insects crawling along the beach into the surf. The wind rising from the sea carried the sooty metallic stench of explosives.
In the distance, the heavy troop carriers and hospital ships waited, unable to approach for risk of beaching. Above them, Stukas swooped low and strafed the water, striking some of the craft.
“Move it, move it, for Chrissake. Get the hell down!” A cluster of men ran toward her and yanked open the rear doors of the ambulance. The walking wounded staggered out onto the sandy ground, and a medic guided them away toward a path leading to the beach.
She ran to the rear of the ambulance and grabbed one end of a stretcher. It slid out and dropped between her and another soldier, suddenly tugging on her shoulders.
“This way,” the medic barked. “Wounded have priority, over here to the right.” Staggering slightly under the load, she followed him along the same sandy path to the shoreline, where boats were loading on stretchers in small numbers.
“How’re you doing?” she knelt and shouted over the din at the man she’d just carried down. He’d been hit in the lower back and was paralyzed.
“Okay,” he said mechanically. “Just stay close by, please.”
“Sure thing. Promise.” It was all she could offer, and she meant it.
A tiny fishing boat came in fighting the waves, and the fishermen jumped from it into the frothing surf. “Come on, load ’em in. We got room for six, and a few standing.” He took hold of the stretcher poles.
Antonia waded into the water and felt the shock of cold, but focused on lifting the stretcher up onto the rocking skiff. A moment later, someone heaved her up over the gunwale as well. Then, alarmingly low in the water, they pushed back away from shore.
No one spoke over the wind, the gunfire, and the sound of the outboard motor. Antonia gripped the soldier’s hand, though both his and hers were ice cold.
Motoring against the wind under low-swooping fighter planes, they arrived at the hospital ship.
, it said on the bow. Experienced hands threw down ropes and hoisted the wounded on board, and the exhausted stretcher-bearers struggled up the ladder.
The deck was covered with wounded lying on stretchers or huddled together. “You’re the last,” one of the officers called out to the group. “You’ll have to stay topside till we get across.”