E WHO FLEES THE LION by J. lein- Haparash

E WHO FLEES THE LION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This sprawling saga vividly recreates a time, a place and a people. In ulk, scope and tone, it is a distinctly Old World approach to the story-teller's rt, but it will give Hollywood no trouble in adaptation for the screen -- no ensor's scissors needed here. The title comes from Amos, v. 19; As if a man fled from a lion and a bear met him... The man is Roumania in 1939, the lion is Germany goose-stepping west and the bear is that erstwhile Nazi ally, Russia, umbering east. Lutz Alda, the representative man, is a Roumanian playboy/aristocrat with a serious side. Publicly a journalist and privately the patron of an embattled ewish underground, Alda looms larger than life in any endeavor (women fall in love at first sight, men swear allegiance quickly) and the basic situation is his assignment as a secret agent. He is asked to be an undercover observer for the Roumanian Army's Intelligence Branch. He penetrates newly communized Poland with orders to learn the methods, strengths and vulnerable points of the unpracticed ed masters who have just taken over. Passing as a stablemaster on a newly collectivized farm, -- every detail of which is laid out in the most compelling record of an impossible agricultural-utopian dream subverted by irrepressible peasant capitalists -- Alda soaks up all he must know and is smuggled back to Roumania. The bookkeeper the farm had been Mira Linkhand, the former director of the Linkhand family empire of international jewelers and financiers. Her story -- up from an Austrian orphan sylum to the manipulation of millions and final entrapment in doomed Poland -- is here and is the second part of the main plot, providing the financial background to the social/political implications of Alda's world. There are sub-plots galore and the author never loses track of anyone he has introduced for they are all brought to life for a reason -- each an evocation of an aspect of the times. The author crosses all class and religious lines and rings all the changes on his characters' political shadings. It is a very long novel, but produces a reader tension that mounts steadily. The author is a noted Roumanian journalist who has traversed on orseback all of the huge territory that he describes so well. The Roumanian Gone With the Wind.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1963
Publisher: theneum