The Traitor's Emblem
Atria, Jul 19 2011, $24.99
In 1919 Munich, fifteen years old Alys Tannenbaum is the daughter of a wealthy Jewish businessman. Her parents keep a close watch over her. At a birthday party for insufferable aristocratic Jurgen von Schroeder, Alys meets Paul Reiner, the poor cousin of the guest of honor; Paul is working as a waiter at the gala. Repugnant Jurgen makes Alys dance with him, but when she asks him to let her go he refuses. Paul, who is Aly’s age, rescues her.
Raging at the pauper’s affront, Jurgen and several punks assault Paul. This brawl encourages Paul, who already wanted to know what happened to his naval captain father whose death is allegedly tied to Jurgen’s family, to seek the truth. As Jurgen joins the Nazis, he remains steadfast with his obsession to break his relative while Paul remains obsessed with learning what happened to his dad even at the cost of losing his beloved Alys.
This is an enjoyable between the World Wars in Germany romantic thriller though the story line follows a seemingly inevitable path of destructions. The cousins loathe each other so much that nothing else matters; their perspective over the Brandenburg Gate obsessive compulsive disorder will have readers wondering about nature over nurture. Although the story line is very thin and obvious, fans will enjoy the epic look at an expanded family who during a time of relative peace in Europe are at war with each other.