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As World War II winds to a close, Europe's roads are clogged with twenty million exhausted refugees walking home. Among them are Jacob and Sarah, lonely Holocaust survivors who meet in Heidelberg. But Jacob is consumed with hatred and cannot rest until he has killed his brother's murderer, a concentration camp guard nicknamed "The Rat." Now he must choose between revenge and love, between avenging the past and building a future.
Martin Fletcher, who won the National Jewish Book Award for Walking Israel, proved his chops as a novelist with The List, which was selected as the One Book, One Jewish Community title for the city of Philadelphia. Now, in Jacob's Oath, Fletcher brings us another touching novel of love, loyalty, and loss, set in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
As he did in his first novel, The List, NBC news correspondent and National Jewish Book Award winner Fletcher explores the experiences of Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust in this engrossing, if unsettling, thriller. Jacob Klein survives the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, but was unable to save his younger brother, Maxie, from death at the hands of an SS guard, Hans Seeler. At a medical facility where Jacob is being treated after his liberation in April 1945, he's dumbfounded to see Seeler, who gets away. Sustained by his desire for revenge, Jacob joins a group of Jews who are also seeking Nazis to execute. Their quest alternates with the story of Sarah Kaufman, who survived the war in Berlin (and whose sister was a schoolmate of Jacob's sister), but finds that she still must struggle to stay alive after a Russian soldier brutalizes her. The taut prose and multidimensional protagonists help make this a page-turner.