It is winter 1943 in northern Italy not far from Verona and a local Fascist grandee has died in suspicious circumstances. The reluctant Major Martin Bora of the Wehrmacht is ordered to investigate the death.
Martin Bora is a man with problems. He has lost his brother recently in battle, he has perhaps lost his wife's love, and as the novel opens he has just lost his left hand to a Partisan bomb. In addition, a nameless SS officer swears to him that he will make it his business to destroy Bora as a `Jew-lover'.
This is not sunny Italy of the imagination, but a bleak wintry north blasted by snow, rain and frost, emphasising the darkness suffusing the novel. The author also throws in the pain experienced by Bora throughout the story, physical pain from his injuries, and moral pain from what he has already done in the war and what he is ordered to do now. Pastor has dared to do something original in her writing: she has placed her creation in an impossible situation and has given him a conscience.
Liar Moon is a superb piece of writing. Pastor's rich and limpid prose and the stately pace of the narrative combine to produce a tale and tone which are bleak and sombre but also a delight to read. The wonderfully allusive and understated way in which the episode of the transportation of Jews is written presents the reader with Bora's quandary, how does a man of conscience and principle cope with evil?
Read this wonderful book!