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Encyclopedia > The Eagle Has Landed
The Eagle Has Landed

1976 UK second edition paperback
Author Jack Higgins
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre(s) War, Thriller Novel
Publisher HarperCollins
Publication date 8 September 1975
Media type Print (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages 352 pp (hardcover edition))
356 pp (paperback edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-00-221208-0 (hardcover edition)
ISBN 0-671-01934-1 (paperback edition)

The Eagle Has Landed is a book by Jack Higgins first published in 1975. It was made into a film of the same name in 1976. The plot has some similarities with that of Went the Day Well? Image File history File links Size of this preview: 362 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (625 × 1035 pixel, file size: 1. ... Jack Higgins is the principal pseudonym of UK novelist Harry Patterson (b. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A war novel is a novel in which the primary action takes place in a field of armed combat, or in a domestic setting (or home front) where the characters are preoccupied with the preparations for, or recovery from, war. ... The thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by News Corporation. ... is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Hardcover books A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) is a book bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth, heavy paper, or sometimes leather). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... ISBN redirects here. ... Jack Higgins is the principal pseudonym of UK novelist Harry Patterson (b. ... The year 1975 in literature involved some significant events and new books. ... Oberst Radl (Duvall) studying the plan to capture Churchill. ... The year 1976 in film involved some significant events. ... Went the Day Well? is a British war film produced by Ealing Studios in 1942. ...

The book is still in print, being reissued in New York by Berkley Books in 2000 with ISBN 0-425-17718-1 Year 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ...


Plot summary

The book makes use of the false document technique, and opens with Higgins making the claim that he discovered the grave of thirteen German paratroopers in an English graveyard. What follows was inspired by the real life rescue of Hitler's ally Benito Mussolini by Otto Skorzeny, a similar idea is considered by Hitler, with the strong support of Himmler. Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr (German military intelligence), is ordered to make a feasibility study of the seemingly impossible task of capturing Prime Minister Winston Churchill and returning him to the Reich. A false document is a form of verisimilitude that attempts to create in the reader (viewer, audience etc) a sense of authenticity beyond the normal and expected suspension of disbelief. ... Mussolini redirects here. ... Otto Skorzeny (June 12, 1908 – July 6, 1975[1]) was a Standartenführer[2] in the German Waffen-SS during World War II. After fighting on the Eastern Front, he is known as the commando leader who rescued Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from imprisonment after his overthrow. ... Hitler redirects here. ... Heinrich Himmler Heinrich Himmler (October 7, 1900 - May 23, 1945) was the commander of the German Schutzstaffel and one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany. ... Wilhelm Franz Canaris (January 1, 1887 – April 9, 1945) was a German admiral and head of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence service, from 1935 to 1944. ... The Abwehr was a German intelligence organization from 1921 to 1944. ... Churchill redirects here. ...

Canaris considers the idea a joke, but realizes that although Hitler will soon forget the matter, Himmler will not. Fearing Himmler may try to discredit him, Canaris orders one of his officers, Oberst Radl to undertake the study, despite feeling that it is all just a waste of time. ...

An Unteroffizier on Radl's staff finds that one of their spies, code named Starling, has provided a tantalizing piece of intelligence. "At any other time, in any other place, this information would be useless", Radl said. "And then synchronicity rears its ugly head." Winston Churchill is scheduled to spend a weekend at a country house near the village of Studley Constable, where Joanna Grey, a South African woman and German spy, lives. Radl comes up with a scheme that he believes could work but Canaris orders him to abandon it. Unteroffizier insignia Unteroffizier is a military rank (non-commissioned officer) of the German Bundeswehr that has existed since the 19th century. ... Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events which occur in a meaningful manner, but which are causally inexplicable to the person or persons experiencing them. ...

Himmler learns of the scheme and summons Radl, ordering him to proceed, but without notifying Canaris. Radl dispatches Liam Devlin, a member of the IRA to contact Mrs. Grey, who hates the English due to her Boer heritage and experiences. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December 1921, the Irish Republican Army in the 26 counties that were to become the Irish Free State split between supporters and opponents of the Treaty. ... This article is about the Boer people (Boerevolk). ...

Radl recruits a team of commandos to carry out the operation, led by a German Fallschirmj√§ger officer, Oberst Kurt Steiner. While returning from the Eastern Front, Steiner intervened when SS soldiers rounded up Jews at a railway station in Poland, and attempted to save the life of a teenage girl who was shot while trying to escape. For this, he was court-martialled, along with a platoon of his men. Rather than face a firing squad, the men were allowed to transfer to a punishment unit in the Channel Islands, where they made suicidal attacks with manned torpedoes against British channel convoys. Fallschirmjäger Fallschirmjäger photo taken from The Hague, Bezuidenhout during the invasion of the Low Countries, morning of May 10, 1940   (often rendered Fallschirmjager in English; from German Fallschirm parachute and Jäger, hunter; ranger a term for light infantry) are German paratroopers. ... ... SS or ss or Ss may be: The Schutzstaffel, a Nazi paramilitary force Steamship (SS) (ship prefix) The United States Secret Service A submarine not powered by nuclear energy (SS) (United States Navy designator), see SSN A Soviet/Russian surface-to-surface missile, as listed by NATO reporting name Shortstop... This article is about the British dependencies. ... CGI image of two frogmen with Siebe Gorman CDBA rebreathers riding a human torpedo. ...

Radl travels to Guernsey and recruits Steiner and his surviving men. The safety of Kurt Steiner's father, General Steiner, detained by the Gestapo, serves as an additional incentive for the Oberst. The team will fly into the UK in a captured C-47 with Allied markings. The commandos outfit themselves as Free Polish troops, as few of them speak English; the plan is to infiltrate Studley Constable, complete their mission, rendezvous with an E-boat at the nearby coast and make their escape. The   (contraction of Geheime Staatspolizei: “secret state police”) was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. ... The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport that was developed from the Douglas DC-3 airliner. ... 1st Polish Armoured Division, Haddington, 1943 Polish Armed Forces in the West refers to the Polish military formations formed to fight along the Western Allies and against Nazi Germany and its allies. ... E-boat is the British and American name for the German Schnellboot (S-boot), a small, fast torpedo boat a little larger than the American PT boat and the British MTB. Specification Length - 34. ...

The plan is ultimately foiled when a German paratrooper rescues a local girl from a water wheel. He is killed in the process and his German uniform (worn under the Polish uniforms as protection against being executed as spies) is revealed to the village people. The locals are rounded up, but the sister of Father Verecker, a local priest, escapes and alerts a locally stationed United States Army unit. Colonel Robert Shafto, an inexperienced but headstrong officer, rallies his forces to retake the hostages, but is killed. The assault on the church fails. Major Kane organizes a second, successful attack.

Steiner, his second-in-command, and Devlin manage to escape with the aid of a local girl, Molly Prior, who has become romantically involved with the Irishman. Instead of taking his chance to escape, Steiner opts to make one last attempt at Churchill. He succeeds in reaching Churchill, but hesitates and is shot and is supposedly killed. (However, Steiner reappears alive in The Eagle Has Flown, a sequel.) Radl has a heart attack in a Dutch hospital after discovering Devlin has escaped from England and is convalescing in the same hospital.

As in many novels of Higgins, this story is surrounded by a 'frame story' with a prologue and epilogue. The author, whilst doing historical research in Norfolk, supposedly meets various surviving characters. Some paperback editions have more historical backstory than others, including a meeting with a older Liam Devlin in a Belfast hotel. The final revelation comes from an aged and terminally ill Father Verecker: "Churchill" had been an impersonator and even if the mission had succeeded, it would not have mattered. Norfolk (pronounced ) is a low-lying county in East Anglia in the east of southern England. ...


  • After the success of The Eagle Has Landed, Higgins wrote a quasi-sequel called The Eagle Has Flown.


  • The Liam Devlin character seems to be based on the real-life Frank Ryan. Like Devlin in the book, Ryan was an IRA man who had fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, was captured by the Franco forces and afterwards passed to the Germans. The real Ryan had not, however, participated in any German commando raid, and his deteriorating health (he died in 1944 in a Dresden hospital) would have made this impossible. Devlin is also featured in a later Jack Higgins book, older and supporting British authorities in stopping an attack on the Pope.

Frank Ryan (1902, Elton, Co. ... Not to be confused with the Spanish Civil War of 1820-1823. ... Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde (December 4, 1892 - November 20, 1975), commonly known as Francisco Franco (pronounced ) or Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was leader of Spain from October 1936, as regent of Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in 1975. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about the city in Germany. ...

External links

  • WW2DB: The Eagle Has Landed book review

Release details

  • Unknown year, US, Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-02500-7, Publication date ? ? ?, Paperback Edition

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