Stunning historical novel from master story-teller Alan Judd, set in Occupied Holland in 1941.
It is 1940 and the exiled Kaiser is living in Holland, at his palace Huis Doorn.The old German king spends his days chopping logs and musing on what might have been.
When the Nazis invade Holland, the Kaiser’s Dutch staff are replaced by SS guards, led by young, eager Untersturmfuhrer Krebbs, and an unlikely relationship develops between the king and his keeper. While they agree on the rightfulness of German expansion and on holding the country’s Jewish population accountable for all ills, they disagree on the solutions. Krebbs’s growing attraction and love affair with Akki, a Jewish maid in the house, further undermines his belief in Nazism. But as the tides of war roll around them, all three find themselves increasingly compromised and gravely at risk.
This subtle, tender novel borrows heavily from real history and events, but remains a work of superlative, literary fiction.Through Judd’s depiction of the Lear-like Kaiser and the softening of brutal Krebbs, the novel draws unique parallels between Germany at the turn of the 20th century and Hitler’s Germany.
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Praise for Alan Judd's Devil's Own Work
'"I want to make your flesh creep", says the fat boy in Pickwick; it is a natural desire, and many writers have tried to do it. Yet few have succeeded to the extent that Judd has… but he is also dealing with matters far beyond the flesh creeping… with the very nature of the creative act and the influences to which the creative mind may be subject.' Patrick O'Brian
'At once moral fable, cautionary ghost story, and inspired attack on the whole hellbent drift of modern letters, this is a splendid tale, splendidly told, which Ford or Henry James would have been glad to have written.' Robert Nye, Guardian
Praise for Alan Judd's Legacy
'Alan Judd writes exceedingly well, and Legacy is a pleasure to read; at its best in conveying he atmosphere of the service: the ribald camaraderie of the trainees, inclined to drunkenness and horseplay, or the staider corridors of Gloom House, whose inhabitants converse in a language consisting solely of acronyms.' T J Binyon, Evening Standard
'Alan Judd's clever, sensitive tale… is an engaging evocation of the cold war as, in the main, it really was fought: with cups of tea, claret and call girls, blackmail and brown envelopes. First rate, old man.' Peter Millar, Sunday Times
'A well-paced narrative is brought, without histrionics, to an elegant and satisfying conclusion. There will be showier thrillers published this year, but few which exude such quiet mastery of the basics of storytelling.' David Robson, Sunday TelegraphAbout the Author:
Alan Judd began writing while in the Foreign Office. His novel, The Devil’s Own Work, won the Guardian fiction prize and his biography of Ford Madox Ford the Royal Society of Literature’s Heinemann award. He has also published a biography of Mansfield Cumming, founder of the modern Secret Service, using Cumming’s previously unknown diaries. His last novel was Legacy, a thriller set in 1970s London. Judd is the motoring correspondent of the Spectator and writes regularly for the Daily Telegraph.
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Book Description HarperCollins, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007124465