Cesare: A Novel of War Torn Berlin

by Jerome Charyn

Historical Fiction Star Books Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading Expert Review of Cesare: A Novel of War Torn Berlin

An astonishing and haunting WW2 novel set in Germany during a time of clandestine opposition to the Nazis.

Exquisitely weaving fact and fiction this heart-rending yet fascinating historical novel is set during a time of clandestine opposition to the Nazis. Chief of the Abwehr, spymaster Wilhelm Canaris, creates an almost mythical figure when he recruits a young man and calls him Cesare. The story centres around  Canaris, Erik (Cesare) and Lisa, the woman who effectively set Erik on his course. Using the real-life Canaris ensured my mind almost played tricks on me, and at times I struggled to remember that this was fiction, as it felt all too real. Jerome Charyn successfully highlights the contradictory nature of Canaris, this is the man who suggested the yellow Star of David in 1935 to identify Jews, but by 1939 and the outbreak of war began attempts to undermine the Nazi regime. There is a raw, almost brutal quality to the all-consuming storyline. Yet this is intoxicatingly readable and the central relationships encouraged me on to the finish. By the end I was mentally shattered, this most certainly isn’t an easy read, but it is enthralling. This novel encouraged me to research the history of Admiral Canaris, to consider the nature of good and evil and how it combines when contained within human nature. Cesare is haunting, traumatic, and yet I wholeheartedly recommend, and include it as one of my Liz Picks of the Month.

Liz Robinson

Cesare: A Novel of War Torn Berlin Synopsis

On a windy night in 1937, a seventeen-year-old German naval sub-cadet is wandering along the seawall when he stumbles upon a gang of ruffians beating up a tramp, whose life he saves. The man is none other than spymaster Wilhelm Canaris, chief of the Abwehr, German military intelligence. Canaris adopts the young man and dubs him 'Cesare' after the character in the silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari for his ability to break through any barrier as he eliminates the Abwehr's enemies.

Canaris is a man of contradictions who, while serving the regime, seeks to undermine the Nazis and helps Cesare hide Berlin's Jews from the Gestapo. But the Nazis will lure many to Theresienstadt, a phony paradise in Czechoslovakia with sham restaurants, novelty shops, and bakeries, a cruel ghetto and way station to Auschwitz. When the woman Cesare loves, a member of the Jewish underground, is captured and sent there, Cesare must find a way to rescue her.

What To Read After Cesare: A Novel of War Torn Berlin

Hunting the Hangman
Wren Jane Beacon Goes To War

Jerome Charyn Press Reviews

'A complex and detailed story of the inner workings of the German Third Reich during World War II... Highly recommended' - Library Journal

'Charyn has created a terrific cast of original characters who speak in a language that reflects the selfish and predatory nature of that time... He tells a fascinating story of resistance against evil with a great deal of energy'- Historical Novels Review

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780857304377
Publication date: 12/11/2020
Format: Paperback

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More Books By Jerome Charyn

Cesare: A Novel of War Torn Berlin
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