Cover image for The innocents within : a novel
The innocents within : a novel
Daley, Robert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Villard, [1999]

Physical Description:
438 pages ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
860 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 7.1 31 Quiz: 24207 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Based on a little-known true story,The Innocents Withinoffers a unique and untold view of wartime France and the Holocaust.          The scene is the high plateau of the Massif Central. The time is the bitter winter of 1944. In Le Lignon, a Protestant village in a Catholic country, and in similar villages nearby, Jews both foreign and French have been given shelter, food, and false papers prepared by the local forger, and have sometimes been led to Switzerland or Spain by local guides. The organizer and sustainer of this massive conspiracy is Le Lignon's Protestant pastor, a man with a wife, four children, and, unfortunately for him, ever-increasing notoriety.          Rumors about Le Lignon have begun to reach the regional SS chief, whose job it is to fill trains with Jews for deportation to the east. This late in the war, it has become increasingly difficult to gather enough Jews to meet his quota. But in Le Lignon alone he may be able to fill an entire train.          Also living in the rectory, as much loved by the pastor as his own children, is a German Jewish girl whose parents disappeared in the first weeks of the war. The pastor and his wife took her in as a child. Now eighteen, she has grown into a beauty.          Into this mix, badly wounded, crashes an American fighter pilot who is scarcely older. He is brought to the rectory. The pastor will know what to do.          Centered on a real village and real people who defied the Nazis,The Innocents Withinis about courage and love, religion and danger. Most of all it is a study of innocence against a background of the most monstrous evil ever known. A compelling and moving story to the last word, it shows a major novelist at the peak of his powers.

Author Notes

New York Times bestselling author Robert Daley is a native New Yorker who has written more than twenty books. His numerous experiences have found there way into his writing. He served in the Air Force, worked as publicity director for the New York Giants football team, spent six years as a European sports correspondent for The New York Times, and became the NYPD deputy police commissioner in charge of public affairs from 1971-1972. Since then, he has become a full-time writer. He and his French-born wife keep homes in Connecticut and Nice.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A departure from the cop stories that have earned him much acclaim, Daley's latest novel was inspired by a true story of courage during World War II. The setting is Le Lignon, a small French village that has become known as a safe haven for Jewish refugees. Protestant pastor Andre Favert has devoted his life to preaching nonviolence and love of one's neighbor, especially those in need. When a U.S. fighter plane crashes into the forest outside of Le Lignon, the injured and unconscious 19-year-old pilot is found by a nearby farmer and taken to the pastor's home. There it is discovered that the pastor has been arrested, and the only remaining member of the pastor's household is his 18-year-old adopted daughter, herself a refugee. Through the tireless efforts on his behalf by his courageous and persistent wife, the pastor is released from the concentration camp to which he has been sent. Upon returning home, they find that their daughter and the injured pilot have fallen in love, a disturbing and highly risky situation that compounds the already existing danger. Daley's matter-of-fact narrative reflects the stark reality of an impoverished village in occupied France during the 1940s. The story makes clear the horror of having to conceal one's identity while never really knowing the identity or intentions of others. It is also a tribute to the real-life pastor and others like him, whose efforts saved thousands of lives. Daley has written more than 20 books, including Prince of the City (1978) and Nowhere to Run (1996). --Grace Fill

Publisher's Weekly Review

An American pilot shot down over central France during WWII falls in love with the Jewish ward of a pastor who runs an underground resistance network in this suspenseful and moving novel based on the true story of pastor Andr‚ Trocm‚ of Le Chambon sur Lignon. In England, 1944, New York-born fighter pilot Davey Gannon has not yet killed a man or slept with a woman. In France, German and Vichy officers are closing in on Pastor Favert, who with local accomplices has been hiding Jews to keep them from Nazi roundups. When Davey's plane crashes over the Massif Central during a mission, two villagers bring the wounded American to the pastor's house, unaware that Favert has been taken into custody. Rachel Weiss, a Jewish refugee the pastor is sheltering under the name Sylvie Bonaire, nurses Davey to health. They fall in love, and Davey vows to keep Rachel safe. Meanwhile, in Le Vernet concentration camp, the pastor preaches passive resistance and compassion, even while coping with wrenching spiritual dilemmas. With the Gestapo dragnet sweeping closer to Lignon, tension rises as the hidden Jewish children in the community seem destined to be discovered, and Davey's fate seems equally grim. Prompted to join the maquis, 19-year-old Pierre Glickstein, a talented forger of false identity papers, behaves heroically beyond his years. A prolific author of fiction and nonfiction, Daley (Prince of the City; A Priest and a Girl, etc.) depicts characters wrestling with moral decisions of every type: Favert deciding whether to lie about Jews converting to Christianity in order to save them, a policeman enforcing inhumane laws and a humble farmer risking his life for others. An expert on police procedure as well as an adept prose stylist, Daley precisely details communications, methods and logistics in the underground and in the bureaucracy bent on destroying it. The wartime romance at times seems as na‹ve as the lovers themselves, but Daley's portrait of clear-sighted heroism in a historical moment marked by moral crises is compelling. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This seems to be a good year for love stories featuring downed World War II pilots hidden by the French underground and saved through the offices of strong-willed, albeit rather na‹ve, young women. Unlike Sebastian Faulk's Charlotte Gray (LJ 2/1/99), however, Daley's novel focuses more directly on the underground itselfÄin this case the activities of a real-life pastor named Andre Trocme, whose small Protestant village in the Massif Central region of Vichy France became a haven for Jews fleeing the Nazis. While Daley (author of thrillers like the classic Prince of the City) has changed the names of real people and places and created some fictional ones, he captures the spirit of the times, the courage that innocence often engenders, and the pain and self-doubt that come when innocence is shattered. The story is partly about love between a young, almost cherubic pilot and an 18-year-old Jewish hideaway, but ultimately it serves as an homage to the heroism of those who helped fellow humans simply because it was the right thing to do. Recommended for public and larger academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/99.]ÄDavid W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



In the presbytery the telephone rang ten times, perhaps more, before Favert found his glasses in the dark, got his bathrobe on, and got out of the bedroom to answer it. By then, except for the smallest child, the entire household was awake. "They're coming," said the voice in Favert's ear. It was someone who worked in the mairie, Favert believed--he did not know who--or perhaps someone in the police. The same voice had called in the night in the past, each time warning of a raid. The pastor started to ask questions but was too late. The other man had already hung up. "What is it?" The phone was in Favert's office. His wife in her long woolen nightdress, barefoot, stood in the doorway. His wife's name was Norma. Behind her crowded all the children, including Rachel in a similar nightdress, and for the first time, perhaps because of the stress of the moment, Favert saw that the girl had somehow grown into a young woman. When did that happen, he asked himself? What had become of the child he had taken in, who was so scared, so desperately anxious to please, so in need of love? Somehow she had become as much a part of his family--he was sure Norma felt the same--as their real children. The pastor didn't know how many Jews were hidden in and around Le Lignon. Over a thousand, certainly. A plan existed for emergencies such as tonight's, and Favert picked up the phone again to put it into operation. But the line, he found, had gone dead. This meant that the raid must be imminent, and was the worst news of all. The Jews, who were scattered as far as the most outlying farms, would have to be warned almost individually. The police would come from Le Puy, which was to the west. Jews who lived in that direction would have to be warned first, and he would have to do it himself because whoever rode out that way risked running into the police and being arrested. Would it be the French police again or, this time, the Gestapo? How much time did he have? He would be traveling by bicycle, for he had no car. "I have to go out," said Favert to his wife, and he looked at Rachel. She could not stay here, he decided. Unlike most of the refugees, she spoke French and might get by, but he was unwilling to take the chance with her life. "Get dressed, Rachel," he said. "Dress warmly. I want you to do something for me." In his own room he threw on his clothes. "Put the kids back to bed," he said to his wife. "If anyone asks about me, I'm visiting parishioners who are in need." Rachel was waiting in the big room. He took her out into the night and gave her instructions. She was to pedal east, alerting his section heads who lived in that direction, and then stopping at farms as far as the border of the commune. She was young and strong and would be all right, he believed. She should ride as far as St. Agave and wake up l'Abbé Monnier, the priest there. Ask him to open the church. Tell him that other refugees would be riding in behind her. Monnier was not part of the conspiracy to hide Jews, but he had agreed to help on a temporary basis in emergencies such as this. Favert got bikes out of the shed, and he put Rachel on Norma's, which was in better shape than her own. The night was dark and cold, and he hoped she would be warm enough. She wore several layers of sweaters, for she owned no coat or jacket, and one of Norma's old skirts cut down to fit, and woolen stockings. She had a kerchief on her head, and a long scarf wound several times around her neck and tied in a loose knot, the ends hanging almost to her waist. There was hardly enough light to see her face, but she was rosy-cheeked as always, young and blooming, smiling up at him, and he saw that she was unafraid, saw no risk, and was anxious to be off. To her, this was an adventure. He also saw that she had no gloves, so he made her take his own, and then gave her a push start down the road. He himself pedaled first to the schoolmaster's house, and together they woke up several of the students who boarded there, and sent them out on other bikes to knock on the doors of section heads, after that stopping at the various pensions, hotels, and private houses inside the village where Jews lived, telling them to be dressed and out on the street as fast as possible. The schoolmaster had a truck and would pick up as many as he could and drive them to the church in St. Agave. They were to take food and a blanket and nothing else. If the schoolmaster did not come for them in time--he would be collecting children first--they were to run into the woods and hide. The truck could carry thirty or forty refugees at a time standing up, and the schoolmaster had enough carefully hoarded black market gasoline to make four trips, possibly five, if there should be time before the roadblocks went up that would isolate the village. Excerpted from The Innocents Within by Robert Daley All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.