Erfurt, Germany in 1944 is a quiet place.
And everyone has their part to play in the war effort. This is the story of one young man who could not.
This is the story of Ernst, a young German man who gets his first job working at the prestigious firm of Topf & Sons. It’s a desperate time and good work is rare, so when this opportunity arrives, he is grateful for it and beholden to the men in the tailored suits who sport their allegiance to the party with pride. This job represents a chance for him to support his beautiful wife Etta, and build a home in the beautiful town of Erfurt.
But what starts as a draftsman post quickly escalates into a role working on the designs for an oven that has a capability that has never yet been asked for. The client that Topf & Sons work for? The SS. And the story Ernst is told? That a typhus epidemic has caused this need for this new equipment.
A brutal and brilliant entry into a life we shudder to examine, a novel that charts the rise of a young man held in the grasp of denial who must awaken to the reality of the genocide he has a hand in.
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Praise for The Road to Reckoning:
‘It’s a thrilling, violent, dangerous piece of old-fashioned storytelling that is also humane and unshowily moving’ THE TIMES
‘A compelling read: wise, touching and with just the right amount of gun fights’
NATHAN FILER, author of The Shock of the Fall
‘As simply told tales go, this is one of the best. It shares with its hero a plain eloquence and a determination and a grace rare in the world and in books. Give The Road to Reckoning to every man you know and they'll thank you for it’ JOSHUA FERRIS, author of the Man Booker-shortlisted To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
‘Compelling, gripping and beautiful … a poetic page-turner with precision and heart. In Thomas Walker and Henry Stands Robert Lautner has created characters who live in the memory long after the book is closed’
STEPHEN KELMAN, author of Pigeon English
‘This quiet triumph of a novel, a sad and impeccably nuanced tale set against a finely drawn landscape of early pioneer America, left me just amazed and delighted: it will surely establish Robert Lautner as a storyteller of the first order’ SIMON WINCHESTER, author of Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
‘A twisty, gripping first novel from British author Lautner…a robust debut that wears its meticulous research lightly’ KIRKUS REVIEWSAbout the Author:
Robert Lautner was born in Middlesex in 1970. Before becoming a writer he owned his own comic-book store, worked as a wine merchant, photographic consultant and recruitment consultant. He now lives on the Pembrokeshire coast in a wooden cabin with his wife and children.
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