The memoir of Hauptsturmfuhrer Reinhardt Faustenach turns up after his death and is read by his boyhood friend, a Harvard professor. The memoir chronicles the gradual moral seduction of a Holocaust criminal's mind as it traces Reinhardt's fortunes from pre-WW2 Germany through his years in the Wehrmacht, in the SS, and finally through his years on the run from Bergen-Belsen in the guise of one of his victims.
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The narrative sequence of Faust Legacy Quartet, which began with the novel The Lame King, about a Holocaust criminal, is continued in The Phoenix Cage, with the tragic love affair between his opium-addicted daughter Margitte and a young Canadian Army officer Simon Foster. This tale of fatal infatuation, intrigue, and violence brings to life the rigid olfd proprieties of regimental life which survived hardly unchanged since the 19th century, amid the anxiety and abandon induced by the ever-present threat of nuclear Amageddon.
The Dikhelis Sign, Book 3 of the Quartet, finds Captain Simon Foster with a UN peacekeeping force wedged between hostile Greeks and Turks on the island of Cyprus. Here Simon encounters Acrasia, the young wife of Gareth Struthers, an irascible and aging expatriate British war hero. Simon and Acrasia seek relief in each other from appetite and crushing tedium; but events threaten to expose their idyll. One of Simon's soldiers, Private Cary Lovewise, is assassinated gruesomely by former EOKA terrorists to redress the honour of a Greek Cypriot girl Theodosia, and Simon orchestrates a plot to make the death appear to be a shooting on the Green Line.
In the Quartet's funal novel The Kali Pact, Major Simon Foster reappears in Kashmir, patrolling the tense ceasefire line between India and Pakistan. Here, through deadly coincidence, he rediscovers Margitte, who has made a new life, and is married. Drawn to each other like moths to a flame, they court a devastating vengeance when Simon finds himself in the high Karakorums, depending on Margitte's husband for his life.The Faust Legacy Quartet, which began in with the ruin of Hitler's Germany, ends with the death of Pakistan's tyrant Zia-ul-Haq.
The rain that had kept Reinhardt wakeful and shuddering for two days had at last abated towards evening, so instead of starting his night's trek, he found a low spot sheltered from the wind, where he could lie down. Exhausted, he immediately fell into a light doze. Not long after, a boy Ernst and his girl Gerda came trudging across the heath, their arms locked round each other as they stumbled across the hummocked earth. Their joint progress would have been awkward in any case, because of the boy's club foot.... A dog's barking came to them on the soughing evening wind, deepening the silences between. They had the solitude they craved, but Gerda's shoulders jerked with a shiver. The slight shelter afforded by a fold in the ground was all they were looking for. Ernst tightened his hold and pointed ahead with his free hand... "Over there, A good spot, d'you think?" Gerda sensed the urgency of desire in his voice.... If you like, my lover. She smiled up at him, her need dampened by the night chill, but knowing his. A good man was hard to find these days. Ernst led her on to where the ground fell away in a gentle slope into a depression like a grown-over shell hole from an ancient war, oval like the inside of an egg. They'd just started downward into it, when Gerda stopped in mid-stride. "What's that?" Then the boy saw it too, a dark form lying huddled at the bottom of the depression. "Don't know. A dead body?" ..... [Reinhardt]was curled fetally against the cold with his back to them, and tremors wracked his frame. His flesh had wasted away quickly, and he was quite gaunt now .... [He] jerked erect, swinging his bent knees in an arc. Startled and terrified,he sat upright facing them, as if he'd been moulded suddenly out of earth. There was light enough for them to see his skeletal neck and wrists, red with cold under the grime. His skull-like head had a thick stubble extending down the jaws, and the red-gray skin was stretched paper-thin across his cheekbones. His eyes glittering from sunken sockets were dark pools of misery. The new-born Rubin Fauste [formerly Haupsturmfuhrer Reinhardt Fasustenach] and the young couple eyed each other in silent shock. Terrified, Ernst pulled Gerda away, and they ran headlong, Ernst dash-clumping....