Author: Szczepan Twardoch
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publish date: April 21st, 2020
Translator: Sean Gasper Bye
Genre: Historical Thriller
A city ignited by hate. A man in thrall to power. The ferociously original award-winning bestseller by Poland’s literary phenomenon—his first to be translated into English.
It’s 1937. Poland is about to catch fire.
In the boxing ring, Jakub Szapiro commands respect, revered as a hero by the Jewish community. Outside, he instills fear as he muscles through Warsaw as enforcer for a powerful crime lord. Murder and intimidation have their rewards. He revels in luxury, spends lavishly, and indulges in all the pleasures that barbarity offers. For a man battling to be king of the underworld, life is good. Especially when it’s a frightening time to be alive.
Hitler is rising. Fascism is escalating. As a specter of violence hangs over Poland like a black cloud, its marginalized and vilified Jewish population hopes for a promise of sanctuary in Palestine. Jakub isn’t blind to the changing tide. What’s unimaginable to him is abandoning the city he feels destined to rule. With the raging instincts that guide him in the ring and on the streets, Jakub feels untouchable. He must maintain the order he knows—even as a new world order threatens to consume him.
This book is incredible. It brilliantly tells a story with a historical, war-torn backdrop. It’s unique, gritty, and a beautifully written book that gives most readers a fresh insight into a time period not widely read about here in the U.S. And the characters – they are so well developed that it is not hard to begin to think as they would think.
One important note: this book is violent – if torture, killing, and other acts of violence bother you, it’s important to know that they are contained within this book. However, none of it is gratuitous.The violence moves the plot along and adds to the realistic portrayal of the time. Countries divided by war are often left with deep and violent divisions.
The writing is nothing short of masterful. It’s easy to see why the author is an award-winning author in Poland. The translation is perfect – nothing felt stiff or awkward – and I hope that more of his work is translated into English.
Thank you to the publisher, Over The River PR and NetGalley for the gifted eBook in exchange for my unbiased review.