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The Aftermath

The Aftermath [Kindle Edition]

Rhidian Brook
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Masterly ... the story develops with many a deft twist ... Brook wrings every drop of feeling out of a gripping human situation, and his vignettes of war-ravaged Hamburg are superb (Mail on Sunday, Novel of the Week)

Brook's profoundly moving...beautifully written novel ponders issues of decency, guilt and forgiveness...the meticulous integrity of his prose builds a narrative of chastened humans turning back from the brink (Independent)

Superb. A painfully clear portrait of Germany in defeat, conjuring surprise after surprise as it shows how the forces of politics and history penetrate even the most intimate moments of its characters' emotional lives. (Guardian)

Rhidian Brook takes a piece of history I thought I knew well and breaks it open; The Aftermath is a compelling, surprising and moving novel (Sadie Jones, author of The Outcast)

A moving, always enthralling journey ... Rhidian Brook has written a brilliant novel (Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland)

Brook is wonderful at evoking the atmosphere of this forgotten time...with a spareness matched to the harshness of that winter. There is much to think about here (The Times)

A captivating take not only of love among the ruins but also of treachery and vengeance... The Aftermath is full of illicit love - for an erstwhile enemy, for a country and its overthrown regime - and as loyalties are tested and consciences are prickled it does what all good novels should do: it poses many complex questions and resists neat, topped-and-tailed answers (Literary Review)

Arresting, unsettling and compelling; suffused with suffering and hope (Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children)

An extraordinary read (Daily Mail)

Stylish, heart-searching and convincing (Herald)

Product Description

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook is a superbly controlled emotional thriller of passion, betrayal and conscience, set in post-War Germany.

'Masterly ... the story develops with many a deft twist ... Brook wrings every drop of feeling out of a gripping human situation, and his vignettes of war-ravaged Hamburg are superb' Mail on Sunday, Novel of the Week

'Rhidian Brook takes a piece of history I thought I knew well and breaks it open. The Aftermath is a compelling, surprising and moving novel' Sadie Jones, author of The Outcast

'A moving, always enthralling journey ... Rhidian Brook has written a brilliant novel' Joseph O'Neill, author of Netherland

Hamburg, 1946. Thousands remain displaced in what is now the British Occupied Zone. Charged with overseeing the rebuilding of this devastated city and the de-Nazification of its defeated people, Colonel Lewis Morgan has requisitioned a fine house on the banks of the Elbe, where he will be joined by his grieving wife Rachael and only remaining son Edmund.

But rather than force its owners, a German widower and his traumatised daughter, to leave their home, Lewis insists that the two families live together. In this charged and claustrophobic atmosphere all must confront their true selves as enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.

The Aftermath is a stunning novel about our fiercest loyalties, our deepest desires and the transforming power of forgiveness.

'Arresting, unsettling and compelling; suffused with suffering and hope' Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children

The Aftermath is being developed as a feature film by Ridley Scott's production company Scott Free and BBC Films.

Rhidian Brook is an award-winning writer of fiction, television drama and film. His first novel The Testimony of Taliesin Jones won several prizes including the Somerset Maugham Award. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including the Paris Review, New Statesman and Time Out, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. He is also a regular contributor to 'Thought For The Day' on the Today programme.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 915 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,977 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I started writing fiction in my mid-twenties. I was working as a copywriter in advertising when I was struck down with a post-viral condition. For two years I was unable to go back to work. I sat around, read a great deal and, when I had the energy, tried to write stories. A success in the 1991 Time Out short story competition gave me the confidence to write some more. Once well enough I returned to the day job but kept going with the stories and had a number published in various magazines including The New Statesman and Paris Review as well as broadcast on BBC Radio. During this time I started writing a novel that was eventually published as The Testimony Of Taliesin Jones. The novel won three prizes including the 1997 Somerset Maugham Award and, a couple of years later, was made into a film starring Jonathan Pryce. Buoyed by this I wrote a second novel, Jesus And The Adman, published in 1999, and began to have thoughts of giving up the day job to write fiction full time.

In 2002 I tried my hand at writing screenplays and in 2004 BBC Drama commissioned me to write a single film - Mr Harvey Lights A Candle - that was broadcast the following year and starred Timothy Spall. I wrote for two seasons of Silent Witness and was just settling down to the new day job when I was asked to write a book about the Aids pandemic for the Salvation Army. I agreed and ended up making a 9-month journey, with my wife and two children, to Africa, India and China. Whilst we travelled I did broadcasts for the BBC World Service and Radio 4's Thought For The Day - to which I had been a regular contributor since 2001. The book describing that journey - More Than Eyes Can See - was published in 2007. In 2009 I wrote a feature - Africa United - which went on general release in October 2010.

A year later I pitched a story that was based on my grandfather's experiences in post war Germany to Ridley Scott's film company and a script was commissioned. But I'd always wanted to write it as a novel so, whilst writing the screenplay, I started writing the book. I wrote fifty pages, showed them to my agent, and she got a publishing deal from Penguin. I spent the next 18 months writing the rest and The Aftermath was published in the UK this summer. It is, so far, being translated in 21 languages.

For more information on Rhidian Brook or The Aftermath, visit his website at or like the Facebook fan-page - Rhidian Brook.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Aftermath 28 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
It is 1946 and the war has ended, but is far from over. Colonel Lewis Morgan is one of the British occupation force, who are attempting to rebuild the ruined city and discover which members of the defeated population were members of the Nazi party. When a house is requisitioned for him and his family, Lewis makes the unusual choice not to send the German widower and his daughter away, but offers to share the property with them. However, his attempts to be supportive are resented on all sides. Herr Stefan Lubert, whose house it is, is grateful for the kindness, although understandably resentful of his forced deference. His fifteen year old daughter Freda still harbours a grudge against the conquerors she holds responsible for the death of her mother. On the British side, Lewis is soon to be joined by his wife, Rachael and son Edmund. Rachael has become used to being alone and finds it hard to readjust to being part of a couple again and is still mourning for her eldest son, Michael, who was also killed in the war.

The author cleverly uses the ruined city of Hamburg as a character in its own right - creating an atmosphere of mistrust and upheaval among the debris. Groups of orphaned children run wild; starving, ragged and feral, while adults are roped into removing the rubble for food rations. Meanwhile, the British are too often keen on finding guilt in the German people, who long to simply put the war behind them and get on with their lives. Their heavy handed interrogations to establish 'guilt', their plundering of a city left in ruins, and complaints about befriending the enemy, mean that Lewis ('of Hamburg') is soon confronting suspicion on all sides for his support of the German people. Can Lewis make his wife understand that Germans are no longer the enemy?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To the victors the spoils 17 April 2013
By still searching TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed this novel a great deal; primarily because its setting was immediate post-war Germany, a time and place unfamiliar to me as the setting for a novel, but also because the writing is unfussy but elegant and the characters were well drawn, having the ring of truth about them.

The book opens in 1946 when a British officer, Colonel Lewis Morgan, begins to take up his post in Hamburg as part of the British occupation force supposedly supervising the restoration of Germany and its de-nazification. Whilst Morgan is sympathetic to the devastated population, barely subsisting on a diet Oliver Twist might have turned his nose up at, some of his subordinates are less so, particularly exemplified in the form of the brutish military intelligence officer, Major Burnham.

But the story is really about the dehumanization of war and the re-humanization and `accommodation' of former combatants. This is quite literally true in the case of the Morgans - the colonel's traumatized wife, Rachael, and their surviving 11 year old son, Edmund, join Morgan shortly after he takes up residence in a large and well-appointed house belonging to a relatively wealthy German family, the Luberts, which has been requisitioned for them in advance. Although, well within his `rights' as the senior army officer in charge, Morgan cannot bring himself to turf out, from their home, Herr Lubert, a `war widower', and his 16 year old daughter, Freda, and proposes, since the house is more than big enough, that the two families share it, something highly unorthodox in the context of the time.

Thus, a kind of strained accommodation begins and it is the progress with which this occurs that is skilfully charted through the rest of the book as the house's occupants begin, gradually, to learn the meaning of `entente cordiale'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Rhydian Brook is a fabulous writer, of that there is no doubt. I read this book as one chosen by my book club and wasn't at all sure about it because I am not keen on history at all. The writing completely enveloped me and I found myself not only reading a really interesting story with great narrative, but learning much about the post-war re-building of Germany - and enjoying it! The book bristles with insights of human nature, of loss, longing, hope, despair and even passion. I recommend this book. Rhydian has based it on his family history and therefore speaks with authenticity and authority.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Damaged People in a Damaged Country' 7 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
To begin with a little bit of background against which the narrative is set. So the Allies have finally beaten the `Nazi War Machine'. At terrible cost to both sides, and after two World Wars with Germany the winning powers decide that enough is enough and never again. Firstly there is the implantation of `Denazification', and secondly the splitting up of Germany into occupation zones. With each zone allocated to an Allied power. The process of denazification in Germany was attempted through a series of orders issued by the Allied Control Council, whose HQ was in Berlin, beginning in January 1946. It meant that specific people and groups, which were identified, were to be processed by judicial measures. It is important to note that while all the occupying forces had agreed on the enterprise, in reality the approaches used for denazification and the `zeal' with which it was implemented differed between the occupation zones.
The framework, in part, for the story is the author's grandfather's own experiences carrying out his duties in post war Germany. The novel takes place a year after the end of the Second World War. In Hamburg's British Occupied Zone, some years previously the Allied air force had unleashed bombing in the region to such a degree, it was later referred to as the "the Hiroshima of Germany".

Our protagonist Col. Lewis Morgan has been allocated to manage the rebuilding and denazification within the British-controlled district.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have read for some time - compelling and believable
A beautifully told story about the rebuilding of a city and a country. The characters are multi-dimensional and believable. Read more
Published 12 days ago by S. Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Read
A brilliant start - had me hooked; events post war that I had never known about.
Some finely drawn characters that you really cared about, but ultimately it all
fell... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. C A Probyn
3.0 out of 5 stars Different take on post-war occupation
The Aftermath: Engaging, thoughtful and thought-provoking.
A reflection on how some flicker of humanity can prevail in some of us in the most trying of times. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lily
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable slow burn. Good, but not that good
Another book of parallel lives lived across a divide. Another novel with a WW2 background. Another novel based on a family's true story - it seems to be very much the trend right... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Book Critic
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read about the Aftermath of the War
Very easy to read novel that quietly builds up and develops its story and characters.
It concerns Hamburg in the aftermath of the second world war , and the British are... Read more
Published 4 months ago by BusyReader
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
This book starts, slowly, almost quietly and you get a real sense of the animosity, fear, chaos and confusion of the aftermath of the war in Germany. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sazmcd
5.0 out of 5 stars Living with the enemy
Hamburg, 1946. The British are in occupation. The centre of the city has been flattened by bombing; its inhabitants are homeless and desperately hungry. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ralph Blumenau
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and easy to read
You can see how this book started life as a script the prose flows well and I can imagine every scene on film. Read more
Published 5 months ago by light
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
It is 1946 and the war has ended. Germany’s cities lie devastated, especially Hamburg where this compelling novel is set. Feral children roam in packs amongst the ruins. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amanda Jenkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Film development first, novel later?
I have several reservations about Rhidian Brook's novel about the Allied occupation of Germany after the war, and the difficult relationships both between the Allies themselves,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lady Fancifull
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