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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and full of surprises
This is an excellent first novel with a tightly plotted theme which leads the reader on through a labyrinth of courage, love, fanaticism and betrayal, but which always holds the light of hope just out of reach. The reader is led on and on, caught up in the unforseen events that cast an innocent woman as a villain and the plight of her children as heart-rending casualties...
Published on 23 Oct. 2006 by Book Worm

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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but lacking in places
I have to admit, I decided to read this novel because of it being on the book list for Judy & Richard's bookclub. After reading the synopsis on the dustjacket, I was excited about reading it. It sounded as though it would be an intelligent, deep book. I have to say that although I did enjoy the novel, I was somewhat disappointed.
The book opens with an elderly man...
Published on 10 Mar. 2005 by Brida


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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and full of surprises, 23 Oct. 2006
This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
This is an excellent first novel with a tightly plotted theme which leads the reader on through a labyrinth of courage, love, fanaticism and betrayal, but which always holds the light of hope just out of reach. The reader is led on and on, caught up in the unforseen events that cast an innocent woman as a villain and the plight of her children as heart-rending casualties of war. The characters take their places on an ever-shifting stage and one is newver quite sure of where the firm ground lies.

And just when you think you have everything mapped out, the final twist throws it all in the air again and makes you reassess the whole story. I began it again as soon as I finished it to pick up the intricacies that the ending threw new light upon. Brilliant - let's have more from this author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Tears in my soul", 16 Aug. 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
"You will never understand fully, and in a way, you mustn't. If you do, you'll be trotting out formulas" (p.413). Writing about the second world war and especially the holocaust is never easy: slipping into `formulas' is too simple. But Broderick does a fine, fine job of avoiding the clichés, however well-intentioned.

Published in 2003, this is a contemporary engagement not just with the German occupation of France and the Nazi `Final Solution' but also about its aftermath and our modern problems of retribution, not least the allocation of moral as well as actual responsibility. With a finely-calibrated moral sensibility, compassion, humanity and a kind of unflinching and clear-sighted insistence on facing up to our past, this book negotiates a complex story of compromised moralities, betrayal and family love.

Others have already discussed the plot so I won't repeat that but just want to say that this is an incredibly brave and moving book as well as a deeply thoughtful and humane one. I've read Brodrick's books in the wrong order starting with The Gardens of the Dead(which I didn't like), then A Whispered Name which was wonderful and finally this one, the first, which is the most complete, in some ways.

This is both a very modern book and yet harks back to a more old-fashioned type of story-telling which isn't ashamed of exploring moral issues and not having definitive black-and-white answers. And while Brodrick is no great stylist, his prose has a precision and cleanness that never comes between reader and story. A wonderful, if sometimes painful, book and highly recommended.
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly brilliant, 24 Jan. 2005
By 
Stracs "Stracs" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
The Sixth Lamentation is a wonderful book that all fans of literature should read. A former German SS officer, Schwermann, claims sanctuary at a monastery as the police are looking to charge him with war crimes. One of the monks, Father Anselm, sets out to locate Schwerman's collaborator, Victor Brionne. At the same time the Lucy, grandaughter of one of Schwerman's victims is also searching for Brionne, and the truth behind who betrayed the smuggling ring her grandmother was involved in, The Round Table.
The two sides of this story are excellently blended to reveal the truth behind The Round Table and what became of it's members. Broderick creates suspense throughout the novel brilliantly, and there are many twists and turns that quite often left me shocked and suprised. The characters are wonderfully drawn. Many books discussing Holocaust subject matter portray one side as good to the point of being perfect, and the other side as evil. Broderick resists this temptation and instead produces a set of very human characters with human failings. This makes the story all the more believeable and moving.
The book is very revealing about life in occupied Paris and the effects that the Holocaust had on the survivors. It is also strong in presenting the effects of motor neurone syndrome, the disease afflicting Lucy's grandma. Broderick seems to have done his research well, and the resultant story is extremely moving. He also knows his stuff about religious life and thus presents the lives of the monks involved in the story very well. I would not want anyone to be put off by the religious aspects of this books - it merely contributes to the power of the story and certainly does not make the book heavy reading.
Overall this is a wonderful book. The story is brilliantly told and will keep you guessing and fascinated to the end. It is well paced and never boring or tedious at all. The characters are appealing and very human. Most of all, the book is very moving and, particularly for those of us too young to have experienced the war, gives a real sense of the horror and fear of the Holocaust. Please, please read this - a modern classic.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effortlessly readable story of an unbearable history, 3 Nov. 2004
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This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
The Holocaust has never lost its capacity to make readers catch their breath and wince. Rarely has its story been told in such a personable, approachable way yet with such artistry. It's like watching Eastenders but having a poem recited over the top. Sometimes an author can alienate their readers by exquisite prose, but Broderick's book is a delight from start to finish.
The main story is that of Father Anselm, who gets a shock when a man accused of war atrocities rolls up in his monastery claiming Sanctuary. At the same time, a young woman is growing closer to her grandmother who suffers the dreadful demise of motor neurone disease. As one woman fades into the darkness, a hidden man comes into light - and with it history is stripped bare. The horrors of the Holocaust are never skimped over. Broderick doesn't want to protect his reader, nor let the subplots of love, friendship and family allow you to forget why the whole situation came about.
The twists and turns of this story are delicately crafted and catch the reader out. The characters are beautifully formed and the story drawn out. This book is unputdownable and unforgettable. I challenge you to read it without your eyes filling.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pure delight to read, 4 April 2006
This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
Brodrick's first work came highly recommended but I picked it up with some reluctance. Doubt rapidly evaporated as I was enthralled by the plot, characters and wonderful use of the English language.
The author develops even minor characters to take you deeper into the twists and turns of the story and to allow a level of immersion that is rare in today's novels. Some have criticised it as being overly wordy, but this is one of the few books that I have read recently that I have enjoyed slowing down to read. This is not eating, it's dining. It's not fast food, it's fine cuisine.
The cleverly constructed plot maintains interest throughout and avoids the trap of getting lost in being overly descriptive on the horrors of the Holocaust. Plot lines are sharp and surprising, and it works the marvel of allowing the reader to have the satisfaction of knowing that the book is finished whilst still being stimulated to think deeply about some of the issues that have been raised.
Did I enjoy this book?? For sure! Would I recommend you to read it? Only if you want to take the time to enjoy the language and savour the details.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort, 7 Sept. 2005
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This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
I bought this book purely on impulse having seen it reccomended on Amazon. As many of the reviewers have stated earlier the style and prose used make the book quite difficult to "get into" as someone who reguarly reads a book in one sitting it took me several weeks to get more than half way in. The storyline causes you to doublecheck on who the characters are and what relevance they have to the plot however once your into this book you are enthralled. The pain of betrayal the central theme of this book comes through strongly and at times the feelings of people in an occupied country are too much to take. Overall very much worth the effort to finish and a joy once read.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but lacking in places, 10 Mar. 2005
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
I have to admit, I decided to read this novel because of it being on the book list for Judy & Richard's bookclub. After reading the synopsis on the dustjacket, I was excited about reading it. It sounded as though it would be an intelligent, deep book. I have to say that although I did enjoy the novel, I was somewhat disappointed.
The book opens with an elderly man going to a moastery to ask what you should do if the world turns against you. He is answered by being told that a person could claim the right to sanctuary; an ancient right from the Church.
This man, Edward Schwermann, therefore returns and demands just what he has been told about. It then comes to light that he was an SS Officer, and he is wanted for war crimes.
Interjected with this story is the story of Agnes, an elderly lady who used to live in Occupied Paris during the war, and who helped smuggle Jewsih children out of the country. Agnes is now a lady approaching the end of her days, succumbing to the demise of her body through Motor Neurone Disease.
As the book progresses, Agnes decides that her granddaughter, Lucy, should learn more about her ealier life during the war. Lucy then attempts to learn the truth of the past - a past that is now claiming sanctuary at a monastery in England.
Schwermann and Agnes's past intertwines and because of his trial it is thrown back into the conciousness of the present day.
Sounds great; loads of opportunity for questions about morality, ethics, legality, guilt and redemption to abound. And although these questions are examined, I don't think they are done so in a completely satisfactory way. Perhaps Brodrick is trying for too much - questions relating to the Church are of course also involved as it transpires that the Church helped a suspected war criminal. I don't think all of the characters are fully developed. To me, personally, Schwermann was too elusive - for a principal character, I think he was too overlooked in prose and dialogue, leaving me unable to come to any decisions about just how guilty he was.
Personally, for myself, a far better read in a similar subject matter is Bernard Schlink's THE READER, which is just brilliant.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Might just be., 25 Aug. 2004
By 
Jim (the Philippines) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
I usually steer away from writers that get reviewed as the next Le Carre, as it seems too high an accolade, particularly for first time authors. However, in many ways this writer might well be. The characters in this book have a similar resonance to the "secret keepers" and dissemblers that inhabit most of the best thrillers. It is a pleasure to see a character fleshed out throughout a book rather than described in a one dimensional paragraph at the beginning of a book. In Anselm we have a truly enigmatic personality, with an interesting background. At the end of the book, I felt that there was much more that I wanted to know about him. The subject matter; guilt and the Holocaust, is viewed from a very different perspective which raises many moral questions about accountability, guilt and myth making.
The best thing about this book is that it is well written. It was obviously not churned out with a view to best seller lists and film rights; although I would dearly love to see what the BBC could do with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sixth Lamentation William Brodrick, 26 Feb. 2010
By 
Mr. William H. Bellshaw "Bill" (England UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
A fascinating book. Well written, witty, easy to read. Gives a view of a time in recent history through the eyes of Agnes Aubret. Thought provoking and poignant, - a book I got immersed in.
I recommended it to my family and also to the local church book club who are currently reading it.
I think it is a book you need to read twice to savour life in occupied France.
I have just purchased another novel by the same author.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 31 July 2004
This review is from: The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) (Paperback)
For me, it is increasingly unusual to find a book by a new author that is (a) well-written (b) with a credible and upredictable plot and (c) peopled with interesting characters. Mr Brodrick has brought this off very skilfully. His book is not merely a cracking thriller, however: he considers guilt and forgiveness (and things that cannot be forgiven), drawing links between the past and the present in a manner reminiscent of Sebastian Faulks.
I heartily recommend it.
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The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels)
The Sixth Lamentation (Father Anselm Novels) by William Brodrick (Paperback - 29 April 2004)
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