Tuesday, May 10, 2016
#REVIEW: The End of Law: A Novel of Hitler's Germany by Therese Down
Author: Therese Down
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Published Date: March 27. 2016
Genre: historical fiction
Buy It Link: Amazon
Synopsis: Berlin, 1933: as Hitler rises to power; the law--designed to protect and serve--becomes twisted to the will of those who dream of a pure Aryan race.
SS Officer Walter Gunther is intensely loyal to the Third Reich. His readiness to kill without question or remorse would seem to make him the ideal candidate to lead the T4 euthanasia programme. SS officer Karl Muller, a trainee doctor and engineer, is also brought into the programme, and assured that his work is consistent with the Hippocratic oath he's due to take.
Their mandate: to kill the "unworthies"--not just the Jews, but crippled children, the mentally ill, homosexuals. Hedda, Walter's wife and old acquaintance of Karl, has no idea of what their work entails. Until, that is, the fate of their families is at stake, and each must confront afresh the choices they have made.
This dark, tense novel is a compelling story of human tragedy, and man's potential to revel in, or fight against, the evil actions of a corrupted nation.
My Rating: 4 1/2 stars
My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
This book is a gripping, no-holds barred fictional account of Hitler Germany through the eyes of three people: Walter Gunther, a fanatically loyal and ambitious SS officer; his wife, Hedda, a naive woman who only seeks approval from her parents; and Karl, another SS officer who is both emotional at times, and starkly moral as the book progresses.
The book delves into the T4 program, showing a harsh reality behind the program designed to "euthanize" those that are mentally ill, handicapped, elderly, or somehow "less" than perfect. The book's description of the atrocities done to these people ranging in age from infancy all the way to elderly made my stomach roil at times and made me want to put down the book, but at the same time, Karl's character gave me hope for the end of the book as he became the struggling moral compass through the storyline. It was eye opening also to read about those workers who ended up not being mindless drones who would kill these people that were thrown into this T4 program, and it helped me to see that there is humanity, even in those who seem the most heartless.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching how Hedda's character progessed and evolved from a mindless, vapid and naive young woman, into a brave and fearless mother who would fight against the whole of the society she was in to save her child. At the same time, as Hedda grows, Walter becomes more violently fanatical up to the very end, doing things that can be disturbing to the reader. Karl doesn't progress as much physically, or as obviously as the other two main characters, but his morality and faith grow until the end of the book.
Overall, though this book was a rollercoaster of emotional upheaval for me, it was a boook I couldn't put down until the end.