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The Soul of a Thief: A Novel Hardcover – April 17, 2018
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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“Shtefan tells the story, and the young man’s thoughtful, epistolary style makes scenes of desperate battle and budding love come alive with remarkable power. The Soul of a Thief is simply a wondrous and utterly captivating novel.” —Booklist (starred review)
“An old-fashioned ‘ripping yarn’ from a master writer who knows how to keep the characters vivid, the plot twisting, and the action coming hot and heavy.” —Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire
“Steven Hartov takes us on an SS commando’s headlong rush across German-occupied Europe from France to the battlefield of Russia and back again just in time for D-day, in the company of a brutally efficient SS-colonel and his decidedly non-Aryan adjutant. Hartov tells a story about Nazis and Jews on the same side of the front lines that few could have conceived but the likes of which had to have happened. Between the spring of 1943 and the summer of 1944 The Soul of a Thief packs a lifetime of human experiences into a year of European wartime.” —Alex Rosenberg, author of The Girl from Krakow
“The Soul of a Thief is a war drama, a cat-and-mouse thriller and a coming-of-age love story, all wrapped into a terrific and compulsive read. Hartov offers a novel and human perspective of the German side of the Second World War through the eyes of one young reluctant recruit and the enigmatic colonel whom he admires, fears and, ultimately, plots to outwit.” —Daniel Kalla, bestselling author of The Far Side Of the Sky and Nightfall Over Shanghai
“Steven Hartov's WWII novel The Soul of a Thief is a literary tour de force on par with Mark Sullivan's Beneath a Scarlet Sky for three simple reasons: he knows his history, he writes with the beauty of Fitzgerald, and he loves his characters. This is an outstanding historical fiction novel illuminating a little-known aspect of the German war machine: the half- and quarter-Jews known as Mischlinge fighting, sometimes willingly, on behalf of Hitler's Third Reich." —Samuel Marquis, author of Bodyguard of Deception and Altar of Resistance
“Rich…the wealth of details about the Mischlinge makes for an engrossing account of a lesser-known side of the war.” —Publishers Weekly
“A fast-moving plot and vivid characters make this a most satisfying read.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Thoroughly researched and imaginative, The Soul of a Thief takes us with plots and twists across Nazi occupied Europe in the company of a brutal but complicated SS Colonel and his young ‘Sancho Panza’ adjutant. With his natural storytelling and his sharp eye for details and character building, Steven Hartov has done it marvelously again.” —Yossi Melman, co-author of Spies Against Armageddon and the international best-seller Every Spy a Prince
About the Author
STEVEN HARTOV is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller In the Company of Heroes, as well as The Night Stalkers and Afghanistan on the Bounce. For six years he served as Editor-in-Chief of Special Operations Report. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX, and most recently the History Channel's Secret Armies. A former Merchant Marine sailor, Israeli Defense Forces paratrooper and special operator, he is currently a Task Force Commander in the New York Guard. He lives in New Jersey.
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In the spring of 1944, Himmel realizes that the war will end badly for Germany. He begins to plan his escape and the theft of the wealth he will need for his new life. He needs the assistance of his adjutant to pull off the heist. Brandt, meanwhile, has a heist of this own in mind: the hand of the radiant French Jewish nurse whom he loves and for whom Himmel has unbridled lust. Which man is the better thief?
Hartov's prose borders on poetry in many of the passages. Other times, his writing is sinuous requiring this reviewer, at least, to reread sentences to grasp the full meaning of the wit, satire or sarcasm hidden there in. It is quite perfect for a plot laced with the feint of this den of thieves who twist the emotions of other characters and the reader himself. Well done!
The Soul of a Thief will take you on a journey, not just through love and war, but also through every emotion within yourself. There is such brilliance and clarity in Hartov’s writing that one almost feels transported through time and place, finding yourself on the actual battle zones.
If you are looking for a book which you simply cannot put down, look no further - the Soul of a Thief will leave you desperate for a sequel.
The unit sees action throughout Germany and France but also on the Russian front. They comport themselves as brave and loyal soldiers should with Himmel setting the pace with his solid leadership. While stationed in a town that has French citizens living there Col. Himmel discovers a nurse working at the hospital treating German wounded. Gabrielle Belmont is a beautiful girl and a good nurse. She is also Jewish and supposed to be beneath the attention of a German officer. But Himmel finds her very attractive and forces Gabrielle into a relationship with him. She must submit to his attentions or he will kill a group of Jewish orphans held in the area. In getting his colonel and Gabrielle together for evenings of love Shtefan and Gabrielle fall in love; a love that could have both of them executed if Himmel finds out.
The final complication is reached when Himmel receives information that a certain train carrying Nazi treasure will be traveling through the area that Allied soldiers will be marching through after their successful invasion of Normandy. Himmel makes the decision to desert a war effort that certainly looks like a losing fight for Germany. He plans to hijack the train take the treasure and desert the army and his German wife taking Gabrielle with him to a refuge planned for South America. Shtefan finds out what his colonel is planning and obviously wants the exact same thing for himself and Gabrielle.
A beautifully written book with extremely well done characterizations will not disappoint readers that will certainly be unable to set the novel down without finishing it. An extremely well done adventure into a bygone period of total war and a novel that left me with a warm feeling of having experienced something beyond the normal in its reading.