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Publisher's Summary

In January 1945, in the waning months of World War II, a small group of people begin the longest journey of their lives: an attempt to cross the remnants of the Third Reich, from Warsaw to the Rhine if necessary, to reach the British and American lines.

Among the group is 18-year-old Anna Emmerich, the daughter of Prussian aristocrats. There is her lover, Callum Finella, a 20-year-old Scottish prisoner of war who was brought from the stalag to her family's farm as forced labor. And there is a 26-year-old Wehrmacht corporal, who the pair know as Manfred - who is, in reality, Uri Singer, a Jew from Germany who managed to escape a train bound for Auschwitz.

As they work their way west, they encounter a countryside ravaged by war. Their flight will test both Anna's and Callum's love, as well as their friendship with Manfred - assuming any of them even survive.

Perhaps not since The English Patient has a novel so deftly captured both the power and poignancy of romance and the terror and tragedy of war. Skillfully portraying the flesh and blood of history, Chris Bohjalian has crafted a rich tapestry that puts a face on one of the 20th century's greatest tragedies - while creating, perhaps, a masterpiece that will haunt listeners for generations.

©2008 Chris Bohjalian (P)2008 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Careful research and an unflinching eye...Bohjalian's well-chosen descriptions capture the anguish of a tragic era and the dehumanizing desolation wrought by war." ( Publisher's Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An Amazing Story

The is a wonderful, heart wrenching story about the victims of Hitler’s war. Mark Bramhall provided exceptional narration for an extremely well crafted book.

Ron Licata

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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very enjoyable

I did enjoy this narrator . He was excellent. Very believable story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A View of WWII from a Different Perspective

The first 15 minutes were a tough sell, but then, I became totally engaged by this story.

It is one in which the perspectives of Nazism and the war are told from the perception of German citizens who were both fighting the war and fleeing from it. The story told of Germans who supported the Reich, who questioned the Reich and who fought against the Reich.

It is told from the perspective of a prisoner of war from Scotland, an escaped Jew who survived by adopting the identity of fallen German and Russian soldiers, and from a Jewish woman held in the German work camps.

I found it required careful listening as the author changed voices with little notice and little or no segues.That is not to fault the book, it is just the author's MO.

This is a good story; an abundance of violence and death; a bit of romance; and in the end, a realistic story about the true nature of war -- any war.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Another Hit

I love this author. His characters really come to life, and his subject matter is diverse. This one was a little harder to follow in the beginning, but well worth struggling to remember who is who. I will be reading all this author's novels!

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Chris Bohjalian always delivers

His novels are diverse in subject with unpredictable storylines. Always riveting. While part about the British POW seems implausible it was still a beautiful story.
I wasn't fond of the accents used to differentiate the characters, but that's the only negative I can report.

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a Haunting Tableau; a Loving Tribute.

This book offers a glimpse into the lives of 3 young adults whose lives converge during the latter part of WWII in Germany. Anna is a German girl raised by a powerful and wealthy man. She falls in love with Callum who is a Scottish POW. They all befriend Uri, a Jewish German who has escaped the camps by posing as German and Russian soldiers. Their lives intersect and they share their travels towards freedom. The topic matter has been explored often and remains rich and full of stories that provoke both thought and emotion. Mr Bohjalian writes the story with ease, allowing his reader to create the picture of place and the setting of mood. It is a good book. It is not anywhere near as good as The Winds of War and/or War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk, but it is good.

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Fantastic story. Spectacular reading!

Loved this story! It is graphic and overwhelmingly sad at times, but isn't that what war is?

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Terrific book!

Wonderful book that takes you back to a time we know too little about. masterfully performed!

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A Wonderful Story

I haven’t read a novel set in Europe during WW2 that addresses the events of The Holocaust that wasn’t engrossing, gripping, or poignant….How can you not be moved by these stories?

I am not giving this book the full attention it deserves, but that’s my fault – not because the story is not riveting; I just let myself get distracted by other things and therefore lost some threads. Still, when I was paying attention – I was absorbed!

I put this novel right up there with all the others in the same genre; a wonderful story.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite

I really like Chris Bohjalian's novels, as I have read several. But I just wasn't moved by this novel. It took a long time for me to get into this story. By the time I finally got a little interested, 3/4 of the book past by. Maybe it's just me, but I just wasn't into it.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful