The Traitor's Emblem
Review: Juan Gomez-Juardo crafts a dark and disturbing but riveting story blending fiction and history in the stand-alone novel The Traitor's Emblem.
It is 1919 in Munich and the Great War is now over, Germany defeated. There is bitterness in the country. A major depression has set in bringing with it poverty, unemployment, and hunger. Soon a new voice is heard, that of Adolf Hitler, that promises to end the depression and restore the country to its former greatness. Separately, a group of men of Russian and German descent, including Jews, have their own secret society, which also hopes to bring about change to the country. Paul Reiner becomes a Mason, hoping to do good things for Germany and for his fellow man, while his cousin and rival, Jurgen von Schroeder, joins the ranks of the new Nazi Party's "storm troopers". Jurgen eventually rises to be a high-ranking official in the party, who, on Hitler's orders, penetrates the Order of the Masons for the sole purpose to root out the Jewish members. When this is done he is promised to receive Hitler's highest medal, a gold emblem, a two-headed eagle on a Teutonic cross diamond … which is also the emblem of a thirty-second-degree Mason.
The Traitor's Emblem follows the lives of Paul and Jurgen. As boys, they lived together, though not as a family. Jurgen was the son of once wealthy parents, Paul the son of a broken family, working as servants in the home of the now virtually penniless von Schroeders. As teenagers, their conflict comes to a head and Paul and his mother are forced to leave. But Paul is determined to make something of his life, to know more about his unknown father, who his cousins have labeled a traitor and murderer, and to marry the love of his life, a Jewish-American photographer named Alys. Still, Jurgen is never far out of the picture, and his involvement with Alys may prove to be the most troubling conflict yet between the two young men.
The Traitor's Emblem is a complex, yet remarkably affecting novel that takes a page out of history and personalizes it through the eyes of its fictional characters. It is strongly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Traitor's Emblem.
Acknowledgment: Simon & Schuster provided a copy of The Traitor's Emblem for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Moses Expedition
Atria Books (Hardcover), August 2010
ISBN-13: 9781416590644; ISBN-10: 1416590641
Location(s) referenced in The Traitor's Emblem: Germany
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The Traitor's Emblem by Juan Gomez-Jurado
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: July 2011
List Price: $24.99