The riddle

It is so close you cannot see it.

It is so profound you cannot fathom it.

It is so simple you cannot believe it.

It is so good you cannot accept it.

What is it?

Cover of the book Codename: Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson.
Publication date 28 July 2022


CODENAME: MADELEINE is the most unusual spy story ever told.


Opening in Moscow on the eve of the Great War, it follows the journey of a Mystic’s Daughter that will change her life. And change history.

As war looms again, the Constellations will force her to make an impossible choice. To remain at her harp on the Path of Love or to join the top-secret Special Operations Executive (SOE). ‘Bābouli’ to her Sufi father, ‘MADELEINE’ to the waiting Gestapo, her mission to Occupied Paris promises to be the most hazardous of World War Two.

Inspired by real events CODENAME: MADELEINE teems with tigers, zeppelins, elephants, U-boats, angels, assassins, chessmen, cyanide, beetles, butterflies and Rumi. Add to the fray a barrister-spy, a cryptographer-poet, a Bugatti racer, a master forger, a pugnacious Bishop, an armed historian and a Man with an Iron Heart.

Revolving between Paris, London, Prague, India and Latin America, CODENAME: MADELEINE is a kaleidoscope of love, war, music, betrayal, poetry and resistance.

  • Category: Historical Fiction
  • Keywords: Espionage / War / SOE / French Resistance / Cryptography / Nazis
  • Publication Date: 28 July 2022

The Narrator for the Audiobook: Olivia Williams

The narrator of CODENAME: MADELEINE for the Audiobook is the award-winning actor and voice artist, Olivia Williams. Olivia trained at The Bristol Old Vic before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has gone on to become a celebrated film, television and stage actor (Rushmore, The Sixth Sense, Peter Pan, X-Men, An Education, The Ghost Writer, Anna Karenina, Man Up, Victoria and Abdul, Counterpart, The Crown). Olivia read English at Cambridge and is a former Booker Prize judge.

Picture of Olivia Williams, the narrator of the book Codename Madeleine by Barnaby Jameson
“In the manner of William Boyd, Jameson binds together numerous lives, finding a golden thread which sheds splendid light on one of the most exciting spy stories of the twentieth century. A magical debut.„

Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland and Turbulence

“CODENAME: MADELEINE takes us on a thrilling journey of espionage and intrigue in the first half of the Twentieth Century. From the daughter of an Indian Sufi who becomes a spy in occupied Paris, to a German officer captured and imprisoned in Chile, from an astonishingly beautiful call-girl turned librarian in London to a crippled war veteran working in the very first Bugatti showroom, Jameson's intricate prose recreates a turmoiled era and transports the reader in time - it feels as if you are there; as if you know the characters and can feel their joys and sorrows. Reading this novel is like watching a dazzling tapestry slowly unfold to reveal its gems and secrets.„

Alexandre Montagu, author of The Riddle of the Sphinx

“History and espionage, truth and fiction, all blend seamlessly in this extraordinary first novel by Jameson: an epic, intriguing tale of intertwined lives, love and betrayal played out against the shadow of war in Europe.„

Stephen Gibbs, The Times Latin America Correspondent

“A thrilling and skilfully constructed epic of espionage, war & loyalty. Spellbinding„

Sam Angus, author of Soldier Dog

“A Tour-de-Force.‚,

Judge Robert Rinder, broadcaster and author of the widely anticipated, The Judge

“As gripping as the writing is beautiful, CODENAME: MADELEINE may be the best debut book you will read this year. A stunning achievement.„

The Secret Barrister

“Barnaby Jameson’s CODENAME: MADELEINE drives on strong content and is gripping from its very start to the end which is incredible. The debut author’s writing and narrative is engaging and will keep you gripped with its strong storyline inspired by real events. Unapologetically the finest book to date of 2022.„

Surjit Reads and Recommends, celebrated Twitter book blog


BONUS: Meet the characters

Spolier alert! We recommend that you only open the part below if you have read the book.


Codename Madeleine

January 1914 – September 1944

‘Codename Madeleine’: was the daughter of a Sufi mystic, a harpist and author of Twenty Jātaka Tales, based on the previous lives of the Buddha. A fluent French speaker, she was recruited into the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in 1942. She was sent to Occupied Paris in 1943 as a wireless operator under the codename MADELEINE at a time when agents in the field had a life expectancy of four weeks.

Image of Inayat Khan

Inayat Khan

July 1882 – February 1927

Inayat Khan: Sufi mystic, musician, musicologist, teacher, writer, poet, philosopher, traveller and descendant of the royal house of Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Inayat Khan was considered one of the finest ever players of the sursingar, a swan-necked Indian lute..

Image of Suttill.

Francis Suttill

March 1910 – March 1945

Francis Suttill: half-English, half-French barrister of Lincoln’s Inn. Recruited into SOE in 1942, Suttill was dropped into Occupied France that autumn. Under the codename PROSPER he went on to establish one of the largest and most important SOE-backed resistance networks in Paris. The network was betrayed just days before Noor Inayat Khan arrived in a city swarming with Gestapo.

Image of Leo Marks

Leo Marks

September 1920 – January 2001

Leo Marks: chess prodigy from the family that owned the much-loved MARKS & CO. antiquarian bookshop at 48 Charing Cross Road. Marks was recruited into SOE as its head cryptographer. One of his duties was to arm agents with ‘poem codes’ used to encrypt messages sent in from the field. His poem ‘The Life that I Have’ (taken to Occupied France by the SOE agent Violette Szabo) became one of the most famous of WW2.

Image of Wilhelm Canaris.

Wilhelm Canaris

January 1887 – April 1945

Wilhelm Canaris: a naval officer of the Prussian school, Canaris’ was taken prisoner in Chile after naval battle in WW1. He escaped from Quiriquina Island and made it over the Andes into Argentina and from Buenos Aires back to Imperial German Naval Headquarters. In WW2 he became head of the Abwehr, German military intelligence. He went on to disavow Nazism and in 1944 was accused of being part of the plot to assassinate Hitler.

Image of bloch.

Marc Bloch

Juli 1886 – June 1944

Marc Bloch: a decorated veteran of WW1, Bloch became a celebrated historian at the Sorbonne and creator of the ‘Annales’ school of history. In WW2 Bloch became a prime mover in the Paris and Lyon Resistance. He continued to write his seminal work ‘What is History?’ while held in Montluc Prison after his capture in 1944.

Main characther from Codename: Madelein Image of Inayat Khan Image of Suttill Image of Leo Marks Image of Wilhem Canaris Image of Bloch.