One of our Books of the Year 2015.
A captivating, moving and skilfully expressive novel, set between 1935 and 1962, focusing on guilt, forgiveness and the linked lives of three men. Although this is a fictional story, it has a firm base in history, with much of the novel taking place in the labour camp of Auschwitz-III Monowitz. The first few paragraphs detail Auschwitz with such raw descriptive precision, the cold, the hunger, the weariness, the instinctive battle for survival are set in stone. The camp is an animal like entity, it is alert to change, is able to sense danger and has a cunning of it’s own. John Donoghue allows the story to shift around in time, encouraging understanding to grow as information is revealed. The storyline subtly edges through the obvious and shocking, towards a path of compassion and recognition. This battleground of chess pieces cleverly balances an almost documentary style with an intensely intimate story, making this a beautifully readable and emotional story. ~ Liz Robinson
SS Obersturmfuhrer Paul Meissner arrives in Auschwitz from the Russian front. After being badly wounded he is fit only for administrative duty and his first and most pressing task is to improve flagging camp morale. He sets up a chess club which thrives, as the officers and enlisted men are allowed to gamble on the results of the games. However, when Meissner learns from a chance remark that chess is also played by the prisoners he hears of a Jewish watchmaker who is 'unbeatable'. Meissner sets out to discover the truth behind this rumour and what he finds will haunt him to his death...
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
Publication date: 03/09/2015
Publisher: Atlantic Books
|Publication date:||3rd September 2015|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
John Donoghue has worked in mental health for over twenty years and written numerous articles about the treatment of mental illness in a variety of medical journals. He is married and lives in Liverpool.More About John Donoghue