Spies have existed since biblical times. Today, every nation in the world has an Intelligance Department that allows nations to spy on each other to gain information about military, political, cultural and religious matters and perhaps to carry out sabotage against an adversary. The entire background of The Road At St. Liseau is a close-up view of how the spy business works. Robert Marsden crashes his B-17 bomber in Nazi occupied France in World War 2, is rescued by French citizens and joins the French Resistance as part of the marquisard (rural freedom fighters). Using a French farm as a “safe house”, he leads a band of saboteurs on numerous secret sabotage and spy missions against the Nazi occupied forces. The following is a good example of how information is gained as Robert and Claude sneak into the Normandy Beach area far ahead of the intended Allied D-Day invasion to spy on German defense construction. The two men were captured.
(p. 62) – “…With binoculars and maps, they tracked the rate of construction and described various kinds of obstacles being built. Toward May, the two lay together on a ridge overlooking the beaches at Ouistreham just north of Caen, one of them calling out roads and types of vehicles while the other wrote in a diary. They were in a hurry awaiting a courier when Robert felt something hard poke him in the middle of his back and he tried to turn over. ‘Nein, hande hoe’ a German voice called to him. Robert looked over at Claude who lay frozen on the ground with his own hands outstretched. Robert realized there were three of them. ‘Stay on the ground, put your hands on top of your head and turn over,’ the German said in perfect French. Robert slowly rolled over and suddenly hands were pulling at his pockets and emptying them out. The soldiers found the maps with the markings on them as well as the penciled notes he had written.”