It is 1946, and former debutante Sally Jardine-Fell is in prison awaiting trial for a murder she didn’t commit.
Set mainly in wartime Italy, A Time for Role Call follows the strange, eventful path of Sally’s life, taking us from blitzed London via Yorkshire, where Sally first meets the enigmatic Adam, to Fascist Rome and the bed of Count Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini’s Foreign Minister and the focus of Sally’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) mission.
Following Ciano’s sudden fall from grace early in 1943, Sally’s mission is aborted. The subsequent Allied invasions, Mussolini’s overthrow, and the German occupation lead her to quit Rome. With increasing difficulty and some hair-raising experiences, she makes her tortuous way north towards Switzerland. En route she encounters deserting German soldiers, an escaped Australian PoW, Italian brothers avoiding military service, mountain shepherds, a French nun, Italian partisans – as well as, all too briefly, the long-lost Adam.
Shortly after the war, back in London, Sally again meets with Silvio, an Italian restauranteur whom she had known there previously, her subsequent SOE superior, but whose loyalties she has long suspected. Aware of her suspicions, Silvio now tries to kill her. But it is he who dies, though not by her hand...
Former Professor of Modern Italian language, history and literature, Doug Thompson draws on his intimate knowledge of Italy to write a lively novel with a feisty protagonist and colourful cast of supporting characters. The book will appeal to readers of historically based fiction, those with an interest in Italy – especially the war years – or any who have enjoyed Doug’s previous works, To the Great Sea (Matador, 2011) and Checkmate (Matador, 2013).