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En septiembre de 1940, mientras las bombas alemanas caen sobre Gran Bretaña, la joven Susan y su abuelo Bertie hallan consuelo criando y entrenando palomas mensajeras que el Ejército usará para transmitir información sobre los movimientos de los nazis en la Francia ocupada.
A miles de kilómetros, en Estados Unidos, un joven piloto llamado Ollie decide unirse a la RAF, la Real Fuerza Aérea británica, entrando así en contacto con el Servicio Nacional de Palomas, donde conoce a Susan. Tras hacerse inseparables, ambos serán seleccionados para formar parte de una misión secreta que puede llevar al país a la victoria. Sin embargo, cuando el avión de Ollie es derribado en líneas enemigas, Susan sabe que las posibilidades de reunirse de nuevo son remotas. Pero Duquesa, su querida y fiel paloma, demostrará a todo el mundo que nunca debemos perder la esperanza.
Basada en la verdadera historia de la Operación Columba, ideada por Winston Churchill y en la que se usaron miles de palomas durante la guerra, El largo camino a casa es una fascinante y épica novela que homenajea a los seres anónimos que cambiaron el rumbo de la Historia.
«Una novela fascinante.» BookPage
«Una aventura irrepetible.» Booklist
«Una historia encantadora inspirada en un episodio de la segunda guerra mundial.» Historical Novel Society
London, 1941: In a cramped bunker in Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, underneath Westminster’s Treasury building, civilian women huddle at desks, typing up confidential documents and reports. Since her parents were killed in a bombing raid, Rose Teasdale has spent more hours than usual in Room 60, working double shifts, growing accustomed to the burnt scent of the Prime Minister’s cigars permeating the stale air. Winning the war is the only thing that matters, and she will gladly do her part. And when Rose’s fluency in French comes to the attention of Churchill himself, it brings a rare yet dangerous opportunity.
Rose is recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organization that conducts espionage in Nazi-occupied Europe. After weeks of grueling training, Rose parachutes into France with a new codename: Dragonfly. Posing as a cosmetics saleswoman in Paris, she ferries messages to and from the Resistance, knowing that the slightest misstep means capture or death.
Soon Rose is assigned to a new mission with Lazare Aron, a French Resistance fighter who has watched his beloved Paris become a shell of itself, with desolate streets and buildings draped in Swastikas. Since his parents were sent to a German work camp, Lazare has dedicated himself to the cause with the same fervor as Rose. Yet Rose’s very loyalty brings risks as she undertakes a high-stakes prison raid, and discovers how much she may have to sacrifice to justify Churchill’s faith in her . . .
By April 1916, the fervor that accompanied war’s outbreak has faded. In its place is a grim reality. Throughout Germany, essentials are rationed. Hope, too, is in short supply. Anna Zeller, whose fiancé, Bruno, is fighting on the western front, works as a nurse at an overcrowded hospital in Oldenburg, trying to comfort men broken in body and spirit. But during a visit from Dr. Stalling, the director of the Red Cross Ambulance Dogs Association, she witnesses a rare spark of optimism: as a German shepherd guides a battle-blinded soldier over a garden path, Dr. Stalling is inspired with an idea—to train dogs as companions for sightless veterans.
Anna convinces Dr. Stalling to let her work at his new guide dog training school. Some of the dogs that arrive are themselves veterans of war, including Nia, a German shepherd with trench-damaged paws. Anna brings the ailing Nia home and secretly tends and trains her, convinced she may yet be the perfect guide for the right soldier. In Max Benesch, a Jewish soldier blinded by chlorine gas at the front, Nia finds her person.
War has taken Max’s sight, his fiancée, and his hopes of being a composer. Yet despite all he’s given for his country, the tide of anti-Semitism at home is rising, and Max encounters it first-hand in one of the school’s trainers, who is determined to make Max fail. Still, through Anna’s prompting, he rediscovers his passion for music. But as Anna discovers more about the conflict’s escalating brutality—and Bruno’s role in it—she realizes how impossible it will be for any of them to escape the war unscathed . . .