- File Size: 2617 KB
- Print Length: 380 pages
- Publisher: Stonehouse Press (March 15, 2017)
- Publication Date: March 15, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XPFTLS7
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #821,130 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$13.50|
Save $9.51 (70%)
Heart of Gold Kindle Edition
|Length: 380 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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"All this anxiety had shocked my mind back onto its accustomed track, spinning out schemes, scams, and survival scenarios, the object of which was to keep the whole apparatus operating."
That’s who Milton Gold is. He’s a schemer, a scammer, and a survivor.
For much of the book, Karla was not any more likable than Milton. Happily, I stuck with it and enjoyed the process of watching both of these characters becoming true human beings, mensches.
Karla Smith contacts Gold, a shyster lawyer, because her father had made a deathbed confession, informing her of a fortune in collectible coins that he had hidden during WWII. He instructs her to find a “Jewish lawyer” to help her locate and recover what he had stashed away. As the two set off on a eventful search for the coins, one hundred million dollars' worth, it was a pleasure to watch as they metamorphosed into people who truly did have hearts of gold.
The big takeaway from this book is that unethical (or immoral) means do not create ethical ends, and that we must implant in future generations the collective guilt of the Holocaust.
". . . it was necessary to keep this memory alive, to pass the baton of this despicable relay from person to person, from generation to generation, to spread the virus of guilt, and thereby create the anti-bodies of defense against the disease ever striking again."
This is another exceptional story from Warren Adler.
I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author. His generosity had no influence on my opinion of the book. All views expressed in my review are my own.
The premise of the story is centered around two main characters (that’s to my liking). It starts out with a beautiful girl from Montana coming to NYC and hiring a seedy Manhattan lawyer, Milton Gold. She seeks Milton’s help in securing a hundred million dollars in gold coins. She is the only one who knows where it’s hidden in the communist controlled Poland of the 1970's. She tells Milton that her dad died three weeks ago and on his deathbed told her the story of the hidden gold. He told her of his time as a Polish prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He hated the Jews. “My father’s family were bankers...I have only some vague recollections about him telling me about that. The family had this bank in Warsaw. In September of 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, his father removed the bank’s reserves and hid them somewhere in the city. Sometime in the summer of 1943, the family was apprehended and everyone shipped off to Auschwitz, which was also a work camp. The family never survived the camps...only my father.” Did Karla’s dad tell her the truth? She continues her story to Milton, “When the Germans dismantled the camps in the face of the advancing Russians, my father escaped. He made his way back to Warsaw, found the gold, then moved it in an attempt to get it to the West. The problem was that the Russians were advancing too fast and he had to hide it elsewhere...he got through to the Allied lines and joined the tide of displaced persons flooding Europe. He managed to make his way to America, then to Butte.” Why didn’t he go back to Poland and regain the gold?
After Karla’s meeting with Milton, she calls him and tells him that she is being followed. He sneaks out of his apartment building and meets her at a bar. When they leave they are followed by two men, who attack them. Milton shoots one man and they escape to a cheap hotel near his office. Milton tells her, “Like you, Karla, I don’t think I have a choice. I’m afraid I’m in this, whether I like it or not.” Karla tells Milton why her dad hated Jews, “He saw the Jews as pariahs, betraying each other to survive. Telling lies. Committing brutal acts against their own people just to stay alive, even for just a few more days. What infuriated him most was the conventional perception portrayed almost everywhere you looked-that it was only the Jews who suffered in those camps, only the Jews who were exterminated.” Milton doesn’t buy her dad’s story. He tells Karla, “He was obviously deranged by his experiences. Six million Jews were murdered, most shoved into the gas chambers. Innocent people. If you read, as you say, you know he was wrong.” So who were these men that attacked Karla and Milton? Were they from Poland? And what did these men want? I’m sorry that I’m asking so many questions, but as Warren Adler’s story develops, many different cabals come into play. Warren Adler is one strong storyteller with excellent descriptive prose (not overdone like Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife). I’ll let you buy your own copy of this novel to find out what happens to this exhilarating couple once they land in Poland in search of the gold. Do I recommend? Did the Chicago Cubs go 108 years before winning another World Series? Yes they did!
We learn about how her father was a concentration camp survivor who witnessed many horrors, and they ended up moving to Montana with a legal name change which is why she has the more American sounding name Karla Smith. Government officials are in hot pursuit of Milton and the client Karla as the sum of her inheritance is astronomical and her father has hidden it (in the form of gold coins) and it is likely that Karla has allowed translated documents to get out - but it is a real touch and go situation for Milton and Karla from the get-go which means lots of page-turning thrill rides, intrgiue, and an unlikely romance between two very different people altogether.
As time goes by you get to see a different side of Milton and you really get to experience the characters' points of view when it comes to trust, betrayal, greed and deception. The reality of life behind the Iron Curtain was a brutal one and this is a novel that succeeds without being formulaic or cliche despite the prevailing cultural sterotypes of the time.