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The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg


The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg

A compelling tale of power, corruption and compromise from one of Scandinavia's most revered authors. In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second largest Jewish ghetto in Poland, in the city of Lodz. Its chosen leader: Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish businessman. Mysterious, ambiguous and monarchical, 'King Chaim' forced adults and children alike to work punishing hours providing supplies for the German military. Thousands of others were transported and never seen again. Was Rumkowski an accessory to the Nazi regime, driven by lust for power, or was he a pragmatic strategist, actively saving Jewish lives through apparent collaboration? Steve Sem-Sandberg draws on genuine chronicles of life in the Lodz ghetto to capture the full panorama of human resilience, and to question the nature of good and evil.


Mesmerizing...An irresistible work of fiction, absorbing from first page to last...Dickens would have been very pleased with this novel. --Carmen Callil, The Guardian (London) Was Rumkowski a sinner or a saint? Collaborator or a liberator? It is around this central question that The Emperor of Lies swirls, providing along the way. . . cinematic detail that invites immersion in the way few contemporary novels of serious ambition do. --Daphne Merkin, The New York Times Book Review A resolute masterpiece, The Emperor of Lies looks for truths in the great domain of dissolving syntax and shadows we call history....A great achievement. --Sebastian Barry, Salon

About the Author

Steve Sem-Sandberg was born in 1958. He divides his time between Vienna and Stockholm.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th January 2012


Steve Sem-Sandberg

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Faber & Faber


672 pages


Crime & mystery



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