By Roy Jacobsen
A story of impossible choices in a theatre of total war, where familial love, national identity, even military genius, count for nothing in the face of war's own all-consuming appetites.
Robert Junior never knew the father he was named for, an American G.I. who was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and fell briefly into the arms of a Belgian nurse.
Growing up with his mother in the lush forests of the Ardennes, Robert turns for guidance to his godfather, Markus Hebel, a Belgian who served in the German army in Russia.
Breaking the silence around his painful past, Markus speaks of the consequences and madness of war - of the son he lost at Stalingrad and the courage of the men who tried to free the trapped German soldiers with a desperate charge across the frozen steppe.
In so doing, Markus reveals a secret he has kept since the war, and a doubt that has gnawed at him for twenty years. Did he, a lowly radio operator, waste a chance to save an entire army from annihilation?
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- Publication date:
05 Mar 2015
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With its mix of vivid characters, real and fictional, struggling to make sense of the excesses of war and its aftermath, this is a strange but compelling novel. I highly recommend it — Rupert Godsal, Country Life
An iconic Norwegian writer — Boyd Tonkin, Independent
A great European novel — Terje Eidsvåg, Adresseavisen
You cannot put this book down — Kjell Olaf Jensen,, Dagsavisen