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The Kaiser's Last Kiss [Paperback]

Alan Judd
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

4 Oct 2010

A fictionalised account of the Kaiser Wilhelm’s last years in Nazi-occupied Holland.

It is 1940 and the exiled Kaiser is living in Holland, at his palace Huis Doorn.The old German king spends his days chopping logs and musing on what might have been.

When the Nazis invade Holland, the Kaiser’s Dutch staff are replaced by SS guards, led by young, eager Untersturmfuhrer Krebbs, and an unlikely relationship develops between the king and his keeper. While they agree on the rightfulness of German expansion and on holding the country’s Jewish population accountable for all ills, they disagree on the solutions. Krebbs’s growing attraction and love affair with Akki, a Jewish maid in the house, further undermines his belief in Nazism. But as the tides of war roll around them, all three find themselves increasingly compromised and gravely at risk.

This subtle, tender novel borrows heavily from real history and events, but remains a work of superlative, literary fiction.Through Judd’s depiction of the Lear-like Kaiser and the softening of brutal Krebbs, the novel draws unique parallels between Germany at the turn of the 20th century and Hitler’s Germany.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; (Reissue) edition (4 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007124473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007124473
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘This is a story that shows us how the nastiest regimes are composed of real people. Judd has taken some unlikely ingredients – a bitter, senile old git, a brash young SS officer and Heinrich Himmler -and, briliantly, fashioned them into a touching, poignant story.’ Daily Telegraph

‘A haunting tribute to a near-forgotten figure… and an unusual and intelligent treatment of the Third Reich.’ Evening Standard, Books of the Year

‘Judd’s engrossing tale, rooted in actuality, teases out the mixed responses that can exist between, and within, people.’ Sunday Times, Books of the Year


'This is a wonderfully satisfying, sophisticated novel about the clash between dogma and reality.'

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Focusing on a few days during WWII, this is the tale of the last days in the life of the exiled Kaiser as his Dutch home is taken over by a group of invading Nazis who haven't yet decided if he's more valuable to them dead or alive. It makes use of some familiar WWII elements, but in unusual and unexpected ways, and is yet more evidence that the often ignored Alan Judd deserves much more praise and notice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars small masterpiece 29 Jan 2010
A story that lingers long after you have finished the book, this is a small masterpiece which deserves to be better known. Judd's portrayal of a young Nazi officer is tender and utterly believable. It would, in fact, make a lovely film. Hollywood take note!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This book can be devoured in a couple of hours -- and once you start it you will probably want to do that, the writing is so fluent and the characters so well drawn. But, depending on your mood, and the time of day or night you finish it, the ending will either seem just right or insufferably pat. But what a ride along the way!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kaiser stars in gripping WW2 novel 21 Feb 2008
Alan Judd brings together fact and fiction in this gripping novel. The Kaiser is a brilliantly realised character, wise and ridiculous in turns, and the young SS officer Krebbs is sympathetically portrayed. Judd's literary (though effortless) prose style, excellent characterisation and cleverly unfolding plot make this a memorable and taut thriller, worthy of a wider readership.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful but painful read 22 May 2011
I received this book as a gift and after reading the blurb decided that it was not the sort of novel I would enjoy. The reviews on the cover made it sound wonderful and I always distrust such praise. Nevertheless read it I did and can honestly say that this is a most exceptional book and should be made required reading. I thought I knew the horrors of the Nazi regime, however reading this fictional account about their casual disregard of human life made it almost too vivid. Where I could I checked the facts and found them to be by and large correct. It is a beautifully written novel and I'd say it was life changing. You will end up liking most of the characters. Buy this book and enjoy the journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing read 15 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliant, well paced and clever novel. The fate of the young Nazi officer kept me enthralled right to the very last page. This is the first Alan Judd novel I have read, and I am surprised he is not more widely known. Highly recommended - I agree with other reviewers - this would make a great film.
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