Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Versailles Legacy

We first met Erich von Schellendorf, née Foster, in 1912 when estrangement from his overbearing father drives him to finish school, not at Cambridge as planned, but at his mother’s ancestral home of Heidelberg.  His love for the capricious daughter of a Prussian Baron and retired cavalry officer moves him to enlist in the military for a term that inescapably draws him into the war on the German side.  Fast forward to 1933 and we find Lieutenant Colonel von Schellendorf training a military equestrian team for the infamous 1936 Olympics that Hitler so badly wants to support his contention of Aryan supremacy.  Erich’s unswerving loyalties to both Germany and his wife are sorely tested by Hitler’s brutal fanaticism and Britt’s unresponsiveness.  Erich finds solace in horsemanship and the camaraderie of his team until a British spy and a honey trap threaten to unhinge his entire existence.

Through the lens of retrospection, the Treaty of Versailles could have led to only one outcome.  It, in essence, created Hitler and the Nazis.  Lyn Alexander’s sequel to The Officers’ Code offers an insightful look into the collective mind of a defeated power via the psyche of an eyewitness.  The emotional tension building within Erich von Schellendorf as the Nazis rise and his marriage sinks is shown to us with masterful style.  The brilliant character development of Britt, from the damaged victim of incest to a manipulative wife, in deep denial of fratricide, who uses the withholding of affection as a weapon, is as penetrating as any ever created by the likes of Hemingway.  Lyn Alexander knows Germany, horses and human emotion and she knows how to bring all that knowledge to the page.  The Versailles Legacy is a great sequel and a terrific standalone story.

Only available in paperback at this time, but I'm nagging Lyn to go digital.
Buy at Amazon

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