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At the Wolf's Table

A Novel
Narrated by: Polly Stone
Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)
Regular price: $27.99
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Publisher's Summary

A provocative and moving historical audiobook based on the true story of a young woman who moved to a village near the Wolf's Lair, Hitler's secret headquarters, and became one of his food tasters. 

Germany, 1943. Twenty-six-year-old Rosa Sauer’s parents are gone, and her husband, Gregor, is far away, fighting on the front lines of WWII. Alone, she has little choice but to leave war-torn Berlin behind and live with her in-laws in a village near the Wolfschanze, the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s hidden headquarters. Convinced the enemy wants to poison him, Hitler conscripts 10 women, including Rosa, to be his food tasters. Even though food is a luxury, eating the decadent feasts Hitler will soon be served is an act of torture - after each meal, the women must wait an hour to see if they will die. 

Every minute seems like an eternity. None of the women are allowed to meet Hitler, none can enter the Wolfschanze, but the führer is a constant presence. He is in every conversation, in Rosa's thoughts, and forever on the radio. He looms large above them all, like some kind of deity. 

As the war outside goes from bad to worse, so do the lives of the 10 women trapped in the tasting room, forced to eat what may kill them. Rosa's friends are keeping explosive secrets, the vindictive SS officer put in charge of the tasters takes a special liking to her, and Rosa must figure out how she can stay alive as it becomes clear she and her friends, her Hitler, everyone she knows, are on the wrong side of history.

©2018, 2019 Text copyright Rosella Postorino, translation copyright Leah Janeczko (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Polly Stone gives us a believable depiction of Rosa Sauer...The story is compelling, and the performance memorable." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

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Not my favorite

I enjoyed the story as I do all world war 2 books but it was boring and the narrator was monotonous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Beth
  • Pasco, WA, United States
  • 02-01-19

Sadness on a platter!

Sure war is sad. But this is a story with no smiles, no comrades, no friendships, no hope.
The main character never learns her lessons in life.
She goes from one scene to another with baggage, infidelity and no gratitude for anyone or anything. She makes mistakes but never learns
Where she could have become a person that could see joy in a flower, she doesn’t take the time to do so. Many people suffered much much worse than she did. Yet she walks through life, even after the war, alone by choice. I got tired of waiting for her to stop feeling sorry for herself.
She chose to keep her feelings to herself, chose to be closed off emotionally when she had every opportunity to be open and let the world in.
Even when life could have been good after the war, she would not reach out to those who were reaching out to her.
I felt nothing for her but pity. Such a miserable life and make no mistake about it, it was her undoing herself.
Such a waste. I could never be proud of this woman. If I knew her in person I could never befriend her.
There are glimpses in the story of what other people thought of her. And by the end you realize those people’s opinions were accurate. She was self serving , selfish, always thinking about herself. Yuck.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christine
  • 02-05-19

Polly Stone

Having being infatuated with The Nightingale and that genre I started this book with a tad of disappointment but as the story progressed it's depth did appear and I started to enjoy the story Brilliant audio

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  • Liz Scully
  • 02-02-19

Disappointing - never quite takes flight

I'd been looking forward to this book coming out as the premise interests me - another view on the Nazi machine. But this book, doesn't really get past it's premise.

Possibly my expectations were too high (I'd imagined some Hans Fallada, Nightmare in Berlin expose) - this had moments of being extremely evocative, particularly the first moments describing the food tasting. And then the rest of the background was never truly filled out. Characters acted without real volition and there were gaps that didn't make a lot of sense (without spoiling much, how did she get off that train?)

The most annoying part was that the narrator had a very strange accent. I know this is an Italian author writing about Prussian, Germany - but for some reason the narrator chose an odd mix of both accents. Her name is polly stone, which implies a native english speaker, so this odd half italian/half german/completely odd accent is presumably intended to add to the story - it was instead extremely distracting.

The book wasn't awful - just rather meh. Read Fallada instead. That's riveting and terrifying on how brutalised a population can be whilst still just about functioning.