THE NIGHTS OF THE LONG KNIVES by Hans Hellmut Kirst

THE NIGHTS OF THE LONG KNIVES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Murder in Switzerland, 1975. Where's the motive? In Germany, 1933. (It'll be a flashback in the movie.) A half dozen super-Aryan specimens submit their minds and bodies to a diabolical training schedule devised by Sturmbannfuhrer Waldemar Wesel of the SS. After being schooled in blindly obedient brutality (kill your own dog, Siegfried) and Nazi intractability (a resident Jew is a devil's advocate), the robot-elite brigade is ready to serve the Fatherland by exterminating Hitler's enemies. Still there are romantic and career rivalries between two of the recruits--Norden (Apollo, sort of) and the very Dionysian Hagen. Ever-shifting narrative voices and incidents galore can't thicken a pale plot or flesh out hyperactive stick figures. But Kirst, resurrecting his secret weapon from The Night of the Generals, summons up enough history-book names and events to create a web of intersecting fiction and documentary--a bastard form, but a proven commodity. Hitler makes guest appearances; Ernest Rohm really did die during ""the night of the long knives""; the concentration camps that Wesel's men design match the ones at Dachau and Belsen. Despite a disastrous translation (veddy British mixed with awkward Americanese), this seems likely to replicate the early Kirst successes more than his later, flatter books.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1976
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan