Buy New
  • List Price: $26.95
  • Save: $2.69 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
In Search of Klingsor: Th... has been added to your Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

In Search of Klingsor: The International Bestselling Novel Paperback – August 1, 2007

See all 9 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$5.21 $5.20

Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416575138
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416575139
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,149,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Broad in scope and supremely ambitious, this novel (the first in a projected trilogy) by Mexican writer Volpi succeeds at several levels as a thriller about a U.S. military officer seeking to ferret out the identity of the scientist who directed Nazi research during WWII, as a scientific search for truth by a physicist who encounters Einstein, Von Neumann, Schrodinger, Neils Bohr and other great minds of the 20th century and as a literary novel about a moral quest to destroy an evil that dates back to ancient German folklore. The framework for the novel is a scientific duel between Francis Bacon, the young American physicist who draws the assignment of trying to track down "Klingsor," the mysterious, diabolical head of Nazi research, and Gustav Links, a German physicist who worked on the Nazi atomic team and who agrees to help Bacon. Bacon balks at being assigned to Germany in the postwar years, but when he locates Links he embarks on a fascinating scientific journey that involves realistic and compelling meetings with the likes of Heisenberg, G"del and Schr"dinger. Heisenberg is the most promising suspect, but Bacon begins to doubt the physicist's guilt when he becomes involved with a German woman named Irene who begins to insist that Links is the culprit. Volpi's impeccable, extensive research provides the fuel for much of his taut prose, but he also mixes in plenty of poetic passages about the nature of physics, observation and discovery. The guessing game as to Klingsor's true identity provides considerable suspense, and Volpi adds resonance and moral weight by reaching back into German folklore. In an era in which science has become the primary vehicle for moving society forward, Volpi offers a poignant, powerful reminder of the potential and the peril involved when we harness the forces of nature.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Director of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Paris, Volpi relaxes by writing thrillers. Here, a young physicist who joins Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study in the late 1940s is trapped into undertaking a search for "Klingsor," once adviser to Hitler on the atomic bomb.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Some of the great Nobel Prize winners of the early 20th century--Erwin Schrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, Max Planck, Johannes Stark, and Nils Bohr--play roles in this fascinating novel about the effort to unmask Klingsor, codename for the prominent scientist believed to have overseen and approved Nazi Germany's research into an atomic weapon. Gustav Links, a German physicist, is co-operating with Francis Bacon, a young scientist and OSS officer, just after the Nuremberg Trials, as he tries to identify Klingsor.

The novel, supposedly Links's journal about the search, is both intelligent and unusual. Links applies scientific laws and their corollaries to the art of fiction, suggests scientific hypotheses which might be applicable to espionage, and reveals "autobiographical disquisitions: from set theory to totalitarianism," along with discussions of parallel universes, game theory, and even the quest for the Holy Grail as described in Wagner's Parsifal. The scientific discoveries of Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Planck, et. al., are presented clearly, so that even someone like me, who is neither a mathematician nor a scientist, can understand enough of the material to make the book and the search for Klingsor both tension-filled and exciting. Two love stories--that of Links in the mid-1930's and of Bacon in 1946--provide breaks from the sometimes textbook-like disquisitions on physics.

Volpi's language is rich in metaphor and often playful--an electron is described as a criminal who commits atrocities and slips away, and quantum mechanics as a police chief who wants to nab him during that "one brief instant, when someone is able to make out his silhouette.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew C Saunders on July 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The key statement of this book, and the key discovery made by its main character, is that we will never truly know what really happened in the Second World War and its aftermath, when the United States, victorious against one enemy, suddenly had to start fighting another. History is a plastic, porous thing that defies the sort of objective study that the protagonist brings to the story.
This novel was a fantastic read, thoroughly engrossing and filled with fascinating detail, though I must admit that I am not historian enough to speak to its veracity. It would seem to present a vivid and believable picture of both university life in America during the Second World War and of life in Germany immediately following. Personalities such as Werner Heisenberg, Neils Bohr, Kurt Godel, John von Neumann and Albert Einstein are pulled out from their equations and biographies and made into fleshy, fully-human characters, each of whom plays a crucial role in one man's search for truth and another's attempt to reclaim his past. This novel reminds us, in the same manner as Sylvia Nasser's "A Beautiful Mind," that scientists are not cold and unfeeling robots in the mere pursuit of knowledge, but rather that all of them are acutely aware of the moral, social and emotional implications of their work as it impacts society on every level from the global to the personal.
Mr. Volpi has created a beautiful, sprawling, rhapsodic work that begs the questions, what is science? what is history? what is duty? what is love? He has placed all these in a strikingly relevant context that pulls the reader along. As to the question of cliche stated above, I would suggest that the examples cited would serve to inform the reader of certain information of which Mr. Volpi chooses to have the protagonist remain unaware. In all, one of the best books I have read this year.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
This is my first Volpi book. And although I never heard from Volpi before, I am very impressed after finishing this novel. It is just a wonderful mix of good writing and science -mostly physics. Bravo, Volpi.

It will be particularly interesting to those in physics, math, and even economics. Volpi walks reader through complex concepts in an intuitive and simple way, and builds the story around the development of the atomic bomb.

The main plot is simple. Once WWII is over, a seemingly naive American scientist goes to Germany to find the brains behind the Nazi scientific initiatives. His mission allows him to meet famous scientists: Einstein, Von Neumann, Borh, Heisenberg, Godel and Schrodinger. Slowly, the main character puts all the pieces together and offers interesting details of the last days of the Nazi regime.

The last chapter closes the story brilliantly. So even if it feels as if the story is not going anywhere for a short while, keep reading, it only gets better!
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Johnson on July 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Volpi's In Search of Klingsor is a good idea surrounded by a clumsy plot that ends up searching for direction.
The idea of using Quantum Mechanics, Physics and Mathematics to educate and inform the reader, as well as to carry the plot forward, is both creative and well done. The sections describing the theory and thought processes of scientific discovery are the highlight of the book. These sections assume the reader is intelligent enough to grasp the essential concepts (a compliment to the reader) and then blends the concepts in prose to move the plot forward. If Searching for Klingsor were primarily a science book then it would be an unparalled success.
However, ...Klingsor is supposed to be a mystery (apparently). It is also a romance novel and a character study. Unfortunately, none of the characters really have any redeeming qualities, and the romances between these characters is less appealing because of them. I guess a spy or mystery novel's characters are supposed to have some character flaws (there is a bad guy in there somewhere), but there seems to be a difference between a flaw and a total lack of moral character.
Ultimately, the novel suffers from a lack of direction. Is it a spy novel? A mystery? A character study? A Science Novel? The novel trys to be all of them and subsequently fails in most areas. As a discussion of some scientific and mathematical theories it succeeds well; in other areas it is less successful.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again