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Lumen (Martin Bora)

Lumen (Martin Bora) [Kindle Edition]

Ben Pastor
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Lumen is a work of promise and fulfillment. A mystery, it rivets the reader until the end and beyond, with its twist of historical realities. A historical piece, it faithfully reproduces the grim canvas of war. A character study, it captures the thoughts and actions of real people, not stereotypes.A"The Fredericksburg Free Lance Star One of Pastor's many startling accomplishments here is to render this man, Bora, as simultaneously cutthroat in pursuit of Hitler's expansionist aims and consistently humane in his choices and concrete leanings within the situation that presents itself. Lumen succeeds on all levels a magnificent achievement.A" --Christopher Noel, author of Spoils and In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing: A Geography of Grief

Product Description

Equal parts wartime political intrigue, detective story, psychological thriller and religious mystery, Pastor's debut follows a German army captain and a Chicago priest as they investigate the death of a nun in Nazi-occupied Poland. Stunned by the violence of the occupation and by the ideology of his colleagues, Bora’s sense of Prussian duty is tested to the breaking point.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 451 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1904738664
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press (19 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EHZPI2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #44,672 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That rare thing: an intelligent thriller 21 Feb 2011
"Lumen" is a hybrid - part detective story, part wartime thriller, part novel of Catholicism (as in the work of Graham Greene).
Set in Cracow, Poland, in the weeks immediately following the Nazi invasion of 1939, this is a superbly-written, very dense and thoughtful novel disguised as a detective story about the murder of the Mother Superior of a Cracow nunnery (with mystical powers and a bearer of stigmata) and the suspicious death of a very sexually active German officer. Investigations into both these deaths are conducted by Wehrmacht Captain Martin Bora, a German aristocrat (and lapsed Catholic) and a decent soul who gradually realises that the cause he is fighting for is an evil one. In fact some of the most memorable scenes in the novel are when Bora stumbles on the random murders of Polish civilians committed by the SS and the casual discussion by the Nazi occupiers as to whether the Cracow Ghetto will be big enough for their plans; both awful premonitions of the Holocaust to come.
Populated by real,believable characters with all their flaws, this is a satisfying mystery for the detective story fan, but also much more. It is not only a novel of the highest quality, but one of those rare things these days: an intelligent thriller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lumen 6 May 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Set just after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, this is a well written, intelligent thriller. Captain Martin Bora is a young officer who wants to make his mark, while being uncomfortable about many of the things he witnesses and also takes part in. The author makes us both aware of Bora's complicity and yet also his humanity. "His eyes burned and ached with smoke, and he wouldn't wipe them for fear of appearing moved, because he wasn't," as one passage puts it so well. His troubled encounter with a previous piano teacher and his complaints about shootings leads to his superior office, Colonel Schenck, stating, "We're all in it. If it's guilt, we're all guilty".

When Bora first arrives in Poland, he is billeted with Retz, who is out to enjoy life and relishes the advantages of uniform. He is also working with Colonel Hofer, who has been visiting an Abess, Mother Kazimierza, claimed to be a saint. This leads to Bora visiting the convent with Hofer, where he comes into contact with Father Malecki, a priest and American citizen, who has been given the task by the Church of investigating the unofficial cult surrounding the Abess. When Mother Kazimierza is shot, Father Malecki unwillingly has to help Bora investigate. Was she a saint? Was she involved in the underground or working with the Germans?

Everything about this book works well, drawing you in and demanding to be picked up and read. Bora is a very human character and you feel both for him and Father Malecki and the difficult positions both find themselves in. Colonel Schenck, with his obsession about reproduction, and Retz and his complete selfishness, bring depth to the book. Everyone has something to hide and even Bora and Malecki cannot be open with each other, even if investigating together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The light in us can be darkness' 8 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Congratulations to the publisher for reissuing this fine novel and making it available to a new readership. When I read the first Martin Bora novel some years ago, I was really impressed and looked forward to more of the series. The series is available in Italian, French, German, Dutch, Polish and other languages but up to now not in English, the language the books were originally written in! In Lumen Pastor has created a wonderful evocation of a time and a place, Krakow and its hinterland shortly after the German occupation, and before the Germans are fully settled in. The edginess and brutality on the streets and in the countryside provide a counterpoint to the claustrophobic world of the convent where the murder of the abbess takes place. The investigator, Captain Martin Bora of the Wehrmacht, like all the characters in the book, is deftly and convincingly drawn, a soldier with duty, obedience and the army in his blood, a cultured man who denies his aristocratic background, a lapsed Catholic nevertheless affected by decency and conscience, a husband who has made a bad marriage. Part of what is fascinating about this novel is how the reader can observe Bora's growing disillusion and disengagement with the Nazi authorities he serves. Another noteworthy aspect is how Pastor draws those Nazis. They are by no means caricatures and it is thought-provoking to consider their own mindsets and justification of behaviour. I suppose what is at the heart of this novel is the question of the value of focusing on an individual murder when mass murder is taking place all around. Read it. If you want to be made to think, you will not be disappointed.

I fervently hope that more of the Bora novels will now become available in English. Otherwise, I will just have to learn Italian!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Light in the Darkness of History 19 Aug 2001
By A Customer
"Light of Christ, help us" is the motto of the nun who has been murdered in Cracow, 1939, soon after the German troops have invaded Poland. The question is: is any light still possible when the sky over Europe is getting dimmer and dimmer with Hitler's advent? In this thriller which joins politics and ethics and suspense- in the best tradition of Graham Greene- the German officer Martin Bora is not only to solve the case of the murdered nun, but also to come to terms with his own conscience, torn betwee his duty as a soldier and his integrity as a human being. Beautifully written, a private story epitomizing the greater History.
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