This is a novel. To the strict historian, I want to explain that I took liberties with the chronology and location for the events I recount, first because I wanted the story to end well, and second, because I wanted reader to get a comprehensive understanding of what really happened in these mountains, and in order to achieve that I had to pack six months of action into a six week period.
On the other hand I also want to make clear that almost everything I describe did take place –albeit not at this exact time time or place. Some of it happened in January 1944 just a few miles from where I grew up, in Malleval, the village that provides the decors and most of the characters for my story, while other scenes are taken from the combats in Plateau des Glieres in March 1944, and the final Vercors engagements in the summer of 1944.
Besides, the real story ended in something I did not want to face. A romantic might find some sort of redemptive value in the sacrifice of the brave men and women of the Vercors, a realist another re-enactment of the perpetual void we all must face, but not me. I wanted the story to end on D Day, with the prospect of another battle to fight, but also with the hope it would not be for nothing. We need that hope to go on.