During World War II, Jewish men were forced to box on Saturday night for Nazi entertainment. The winner got extra food. The loser went to the gas chambers.
The year is 1943, and Samson Abrams has just made a life or death decision, coming to the aid of a young Jewish boy being beaten by the Nazis. Before long, Samson's entire family must board the train to Auschwitz. As they arrive at the camp, Dr. Joseph Mengele, a man who will later go down in history as a person of pure evil, oversees the "selection" process. The young, weak, and elderly are all sent to their deaths. Samson tries to attack, but is calmed by Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic monk also at the camp. For Samson, all of this evil reaffirms his belief that there is no God. Samson is soon recognized as a 1936 Olympic boxing participant and is offered a deal: he can box for his life, but if he loses, he will find himself on Mengele's experimental operating table. Adding to the complexity is the slow renewal of Samson's faith through his relationship with Kolbe. Here, he must somehow reconcile with God while he witnesses the violent, tortured deaths of so many. A historic battle ensues with Hitler, Himmler, Höss, and many of the highest ranking officials in the Nazi Party watching…an incredible final fight which culminates in Mengele himself getting in the ring.
. Not for the faint of heart. One of the best novels I've read ever.
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The story is one that haunts your thoughts for days after reading. The atrocities of the holocaust are brought vividly to life. Samson is what Saviors/Heroes are supposed to be.