?The true life of Noor Inayat Khan is the stuff legends are made of. It makes for compelling reading, ? wrote novelist, Khushwant Singh about Spy Princess?. Christopher Hudson from the Daily Mail newspaper commented, ?It's one of the most inspirational stories of World War II; reading this book is like watching a butterfly trapped in a net.?
On 13 September 1944, Noor Inayat Khan, the first female wireless operator to be flown into occupied France, was shot at Dachau. The descendant of Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, Noor was born in Moscow and raised in the Sufi style of Islam. From this unlikely background, she became the only Asian secret agent in Europe in World War II, was one of three women in the SOE to be awarded the George Cross and the Croix de Guerre. Shrabani Basu's new book tells the full story of this extraordinarily heroic woman. Noor was brought up in France and Britain and joined the Red Cross when World War II broke out. In Britain, Noor trained as a wireless operator before being recruited by the SOE. Such was the urgent demand for radio operators that she was sent to France before her training was completed. Working under the code name of Madeleine, she joined a group that sabotaged communication lines. But disaster struck quickly and, within days, her circuit collapsed and her colleagues were arrested. Though instructed by her controller, the famous Maurice Buckmaster, to return home, she refused to abandon her post as she was the last radio operator left in Paris. For a time, she successfully dodged the Gestapo, but by late 1943 her luck had run out. She was betrayed, arrested and imprisoned at Avenue Foch. Undaunted, she made two dramatic escape attempts, but was recaptured and sent to Germany. Here she was interrogated and tortured and finally sent to Dachau, where she was shot. The Germans had learned nothing from her - not even her real name.