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 Within is 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.
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