Summary

SS Obersturmführer 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....
©2015 John Donoghue (P)2015 Isis Publishing Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By M on 21-05-17

Really Good

I was recommended this book by a friend so am glad I followed their advice. A difficult subject, examining some of the darkest parts of the holocaust through a small number of characters. Chess is used as a theme throughout the novel - initially I thought this would be boring. I was totally wrong - if anything, the chess parts of the novel are exciting. Not surprisingly, considering the main subject matter the novel is harrowing and emotional in places. However, it demonstrated the strength of human spirit and also how kind and evil humans can be.

The narrator does a brilliant job. I would thoroughly recommend this book. I will also be looking for anything else the author writes.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By L. H. Healy on 18-06-18

Brilliant story, superb narrator.

Such a wonderful book, a captivating, important and very moving story, brilliantly read by a super narrator.

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