Author(s): Chris Bohjalian
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 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 Finnella, a young Scottish prisoner of war who has been brought from the stalag to her family's farm as forced labour. And there is the intriguing Wehrmacht corporal whom the pair know as Manfred - who is, in reality, Uri Singer, a Jew from Germany who managed a daring escape from 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. Skilfully capturing the flesh and blood of history, Bohjalian has crafted a rich tapestry that puts a face on one of the 20th century's greatest tragedies - while creating a masterpiece that will, perhaps, haunt readers for generations.