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Ostland [Kindle Edition]

David Thomas
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

Surrounded by evil, how long can one man's good intentions last?

February 1941, Berlin: A murderer is on a killing spree. The Murder Squad is in the midst of the biggest manhunt the city has ever seen.

Georg Heuser is the idealistic, brilliant young detective set to crack the case.

July 1959, West Germany: Lawyers Max Kraus and Paula Siebert are investigating war crimes of unimaginable magnitude committed near the Russian Front, the empire the Nazis called Ostland.

The man accused is called Georg Heuser.

Assured of his guilt, Paula and Max have only one question left: What has happened to make this good man become a monster?

Product Description


'An intriguing mix of detection, thriller, courtroom drama, fact and fiction' The Times. 'A thought provoking account of an ordinary person's capacity to do evil ... a fascinating important book' Literary Review. 'With subtlety and intelligence, Thomas joins the historical dots to produce a novel with plenty to say - eloquently - about the brutalising effects of the Holocaust' Guardian. 'Very rarely do books reach into your psyche and take root. Ostland came along and kicked my door down. A wonderfully thought-provoking novel. Educational, entertaining and emotive throughout ... a first class read by an author at the top of their game' Crimesquad. 'A riveting read' Sport 'An ambitious and very powerful novel that reflects the ultimate incomprehensibility of the Holocaust' Crimetime. 'To simply label Ostland as a crime thriller would not only do a great disservice to the sheer power and scope of this novel, but would in turn devalue a book that truly encompasses the very best elements of both the crime and historical fiction genres. This is without doubt one of the most affecting novels that I have read ... not just a book that deserves to be read, but a book that also needs to be read' Ravencrimereads. 'This nightmare-inducing new novel stretches crime fiction to its limits ... a compelling read' Mail on Sunday.

From the Inside Flap

February 1941, wartime Berlin: Brilliant, idealistic young detective Georg Heuser joins the Murder Squad in the midst of the biggest manhunt the city has ever seen. A serial killer is slaughtering women on S-Bahn trains and leaving their battered bodies by the tracks. Heuser must confront evil eye-to-eye as he helps track down the murderer. July 1959, peacetime West Germany: A pioneering young lawyer, Paula Siebert, is the sole woman in a federal unit investigating men who have committed crimes of unimaginable magnitude and horror. Their leader has just been arrested. His name is Georg Heuser. Siebert is sure of his guilt. But one question haunts her: how could a once decent man have become a sadistic monster? The answer lies in the desolate wastes of the Russian Front, the vast landmass conquered by Hitler's forces... the new empire the Nazis called Ostland. Based on an extraordinary true story, Ostland is a gripping detective thriller, a harrowing account of the Holocaust and a thought-provoking examination of the capacity for sin that lurks in every human soul.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1104 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (18 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,950 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Prepare to be startled. The last book I read by David Thomas was 1995's "Girl"Girl, the light, smart, thought-provoking story of an accidental sex change! It's fair to say that Ostland is an entirely different proposition. It's a compelling - but categorically not an easy - read. In fact, there are times when you feel like it kicked you in the stomach, ribs and heart, all at once... and you want to be sick, especially if, like me, your Jewish family suffered this unspeakable history first-hand. But it is extraordinarily powerful and technically - with its parallel storylines some 20 years apart - cleverly-constructed. The compelling serial killer tale at the beginning serves as a fairly comfortable prologue and contrast to the astonishingly uncomfortable, factually-based horror story that unfolds, in tandem with the moral unravelling of Georg Heuser, the main protagonist and ultimate anti-hero, thereafter. This is the first book I've read in ages that I can't stop thinking, talking and even crying about, even two books on (am currently reading the very wonderful "Revenger" by Tom Cain and mourning the end of the series). Why would you not spend ten pounds to read Ostland? An astonishing work and all the more gut-wrenching for its documentary real-ness, this deserves to win every available gong and I hope one day to see it on the global schools curriculum for 16-18 year olds.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read... 19 July 2013
To simply label Ostland as a crime thriller would not only do a great disservice to the sheer power and scope of this novel, but would in turn devalue a book that truly encompasses the very best elements of both the crime and historical fiction genres. This is without a doubt one of the most affecting novels that I have read, so much so, that at times I had to take a breath, emotionally undone by the, at times, harrowing depictions of one of the greatest evils perpetrated in the history of mankind, which is so strongly brought to the reader's consciousness. This is not a book that just deserves to be read but a book that also needs to be read...

From its deceptive beginning as a seemingly straightforward and compelling crime read, Thomas not only manipulates our emotions to the central protagonist, Georg Heuser, but then allows us to bear witness to the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime during the latter stages of World War II. Opening with the real-life investigation of a brutal serial killer, stalking the S-Bahn network, Heuser makes his entrance as a young idealistic detective, driven by an innate sense of morality in the hunt for a killer. At the close of the S-Bahn killer case with the apprehension of the murderer Heuser tries to come to terms with his encounter with "a genuinely evil human being" and that to enter the killer's mind was to "enter a world of violence, degradation and filth, a world without pity, morality, or any feeling whatsoever for his fellow human beings- a world with which I had nothing in common at all" and a sentiment of the young Heuser that remained in my mind throughout the book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tour de Force 10 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a brilliant, heart-rending and utterly credible reconstruction of a reviled role in one of history's most horrendous events. For three days, I was unable to leave it alone; if I wasn't reading it, I was dreaming or imagining it. The fundamental dilemma - would I have done differently - is, perhaps, over-sold. But so carefully is the plot constructed that I found myself unable to answer the dilemma to my own complete satisfaction. A must read!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ostland 29 Sept. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This novel takes real events and weaves together the real and the fictional to create a thought provoking and haunting book. Georg Hauser was an officer of the Criminal Police and the SS and we follow his story, told mainly from his perspective, through two major events in his life. The first, as a young detective and the second as he is investigated for war crimes by the fictional investigators Max Kraus and Paula Siebert. Arrested in 1959, Hauser is a police chief and a man both popular and respected by his colleagues. Kraus and Siebert have a difficult task ahead to prosecute a man who, in 1941 Berlin, was involved in the investigation for the notorious S-Bahn murderer; the ambitious and keen right hand man to Wilhelm Ludtke, head of the Berlin murder squad. Most Germans believe that those being prosecuted for war crimes were just following orders; that they have committed no crimes since returning from the front and that they would prefer to forget the terrible events of the past.

Though the words of Hauser, we hear how he "grew up under the shadow of defeat" after the first world war. How, although never a party member, he thought the National Socialists represented a promise of pride and strength. Looking up to men, such as Heydrich, he longed not only to advance his career, but take a violent killer off the streets. However, the war meant that Hauser would not spend his time in Berlin and, although he arrived in the Reich Commissariat of Ostland as a decent young man, he "had left it a monster..." This novel asks what happened in Riga and Minsk during the years Hauser was there and what turned idealistic, normal young men into the killers of women and children - precisely the people he had sworn as a policeman to protect. At times, this is an unsettling read, but brilliantly done and wonderfully written. It would make a fantastic novel for book groups, with so much to discuss, and you will be unable to read it and remain unmoved.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A gripping read
Published 9 days ago by Ir Carpenter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Couldn't put it down.
Published 1 month ago by MR J R THOMPSON
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month ago by d j o gregory
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fantastic book!! Very good read
Published 1 month ago by Ms. Cheryl A. Collins
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read
Published 1 month ago by richard sharp
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A fascinating read -thought provoking-well constructed book.
Published 1 month ago by G. Welsh
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written historical novel
A dark well researched, beautifully written historical novel.
Published 1 month ago by JOHN NICHOLL
5.0 out of 5 stars A reminder that good people can undertake awful acts
The story is an engaging one which at times has you feeling sympathy for a nazi war criminal, and that is not right. Read more
Published 1 month ago by laurieb
4.0 out of 5 stars "We are all damned and we know it..."
Georg Albert Wilhelm Heuser graduates from Police college with honours and is taken on by Wilhelm Ludtke as his assistant midway through the search for the notorious S-bahn... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Man is wolf to man
The story is inspired by the actual events that took place during the Second World War , this makes the book more horrific when reading about the Nazis final solution to the Jewish... Read more
Published 3 months ago by B. Lawrenson
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