17 May, 2021

In Noor's Jahan

Baldwin's ability to bring her characters to life has never been in question and it reigns supreme now...

In Noor's Jahan
The life of Noor Inayat Khan belongs to the Lost and Found department of literature. The legend of Noor rapidly overtook reality, leaving behind a confused tale of an exotic Indian princess who spied for the French Resistance during World War Two and left a trail of broken hearts.

The truth was, as always, more complicated. Noor was the daughter of Sufi scholar and musician Hazrat Inayat Khan, made no claim herself to royal blood and was brought up in a family both iconoclastic and deeply traditional. She studied at the Sorbonne until 1940, when she fled with her family to England for safety as France was invaded. But Noor had met and fallen in love with a Jewish musician, Armand, while she was in France. She had also discovered the appeal of nobler causes. In England, she joined special intelligence services as a radio operator and was sent to Occupied France, one of the small band of men and women sent to aid the French Resistance.

Their job was to get information across to Resistance members in France. Noor, codenamed Madeleine, was less Mata Hari, more technician on...

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