- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: YouWriteOn; First Edition edition (December 21, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1849233845
- ISBN-13: 978-1849233842
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,375,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Stasi File: Opera and Espionage: A Deadly Combination Paperback – December 21, 2012
From the Author
Quarter Finalist 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest
Bestseller Chart on youwriteon.com
About the Author
As I approached my prime, I developed the powerful urge to write thrillers. My wife harbored the absurd suspicion midlife crisis had struck, because I was bound in those days to courtroom and desk at the U.S. Attorney's Office. So my dream remained just that for a long time. As soon as I retired, though, we moved to Arizona and I took things in hand by enrolling in a workshop for wannabe authors.
The workshop was a bust, but it did push me into tackling my first book, The Stasi File - Opera and Espionage: A Deadly Combination, in which, following the age-old advice to "write what you know," I wove together the unlikely combination of a German upbringing, a lifelong love of opera and my experiences as an attorney. After a beginning that seemed to take forever, I was surprised when the challenge of creating characters and building a plot that was real and intriguing started to take over my waking hours, and a few sleeping ones too.
My skill and talent developed quickly, but there were many times they seemed almost superfluous--I was too busy holding on tight as "my" characters and their actions took over and went their own ways, leaving me to serve as their scribe and menial servant. What a journey!
"The Stasi File" was named a finalist for Book of the Year by the British Arts Council sponsored website YouWriteOn.com, and is ranked a bestseller by the site. The novel was a quarter finalist in the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. For reviews see amazon.com/Stasi-File-Peter-Bernhardt/dp/1849233845 and my website, sedonaauthor.com.
I've completed writing Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter, which pits The Stasi File protagonists, Sylvia and Rolf, against ruthless smugglers of Indian artifacts during Sylvia's engagement at the Santa Fe Opera, interweaving as subplot the story of thirteen-year old Indian girl, Teya, during the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680 that drove the Spanish from New Mexico.
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An element that I appreciated in Bernhardt's suspense thriller was that he mastered plot, characters, tension, and drama without using the profanity that makes Grandma cringe.
Peter Bernhardt obviously knows Germany and opera, and I admire the way he combined his love and knowledge of the two.
And you know those novels that incorporate intriguing history that makes you want to search Google for more details, but you can't tear your eyes from the pages? This is one of those books. Oh, but never mind, continue reading and learn about the Red Army Faction, Stasi Files, German Reunification, opera, and label the new knowledge under, "pure entertainment."
The Stasi file captures the mood and feel of German cities and villages so much that I want to claim I was there and send postcards home. Germany is great! Love my new friends Sylvia and Rolf. Got caught up in espionage. Saw Carmen at the Opera. Savored delicious German food. Had a fantastic time. Wish you were here! You can be if you read The Stasi File. Suspense thrillers are my new favorite genre. Thanks Peter. Great Read!
Peter Bernhardt's "The Stasi File" opens in the waning days of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall is crumbling, but powerful Stasi members continue to oppose unification with the West. An opera singer is coerced into a deadly game of delivering military secrets from East Germany to West.
It was fun to see historical figures interacting with Bernhardt's fictional people. The heroine literally bumps into Helmut Kohl. Other historical figures in this novel include hard-line stalinist Erich Mielke; Alfred Herrhausen, the Deutsche Bank chief who was murdered as described in the book; Erich Honecker, Gorbachev, and various opera stars, e.g., Kirsten Flagstad and Franco Corelli. Bernhardt skillfully weaves into his tense, riveting narrative a lot of true events. The facts about the RAF being trained by the Stasi, a shootout in a train station, the suicide of RAF members in prison, the various killings of West German industrialists and public officials--all taken from real life, as are the bumbling and disgraced chiefs of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Cologne, and the various Stasi moles embedded in West German institutions.
That's the kind of fiction I like best--a history lesson in disguise.
Bernhardt's descriptions of Germany evoke the mood and feel of cities and villages from Berlin to Mittenwald. I could smell the coffee, feel the weight of sausage in my stomach, taste the Black Forest cake, see the wet gray sidewalks glisten under street lamps and feel the damp chill. It made me want to book a flight to Frankfurt.
The characters are easy to like--Rolf, a recovering alcoholic who has to fight temptation at every meal, given the German love of beer with lunch or dinner; Sylvia, fighting to launch her career in opera; Dobnik, an East German trying to defect to a life free of the Stasi. Stein, Rolf's boss, and Dieter, the West German contact, kept me guessing. I duly hated Gen. Holger Franz, the Stasi boss. Oddly, I came to identify with Schlechter, the "heavy" used by Holger for the dirty work. He represented intense moral conficts--obey the commands or get killed; obey the commands, and get killed anyway when Holger wants to hide his trail. In a tense confrontation with Rolf and Sylvia, I was rooting for Schlechter. I love it when an author makes a villain human and multi-dimensional.
If you love opera, feel homesick for Germany, have a school kid studying the fall of East Germany, or if you just love a good spy story, this is the book you need to read.