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The Second Son: A Berlin Trilogy by [Rabb, Jonathan]
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The Second Son: A Berlin Trilogy Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Review

""The Second Son" is an unusual blend of hard-boiled detective novel and love story . . . the narrative never flags. It proves that first-rate detectives are like good lovers and good novelists: keenly observant, intuitive and tough as nails." --Tara McKelvey, "The New York Times Book Review
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"Rabb works wonders, juggling Nazi sympathizers and anarchists and guilty bystanders and innocent warriors with an alacrity few in his generation can maintain . . . Inspector Hoffner flies off into the oncoming darkness, having accomplished Rabb's mission, of carrying to completion this engrossing trilogy on his strong shoulders." --Alan Cheuse, "The Dallas Morning News
""A powerful, shocking and moving novel . . . Rabb is an accomplished storyteller as well as a superb stylist, and the conclusion of his trilogy is at once affecting and effective in its portrayal of the run-up to a global nightmare." --Jay Strafford, "The Richmond Times-Dispatch
""In this stunning conclusion to his Berlin trilogy, Jonathan Rabb delivers a resounding historical tour de force--a brilliant depiction of a society at war with itself in which even the good guys commit brutal acts and no one will walk away unscathed."--"The Washington Post Book World
""Remarkable...A gripping book."--"The Seattle Times
""Rabb's characters are compelling and his prose is hard-boiled and vivid, providing a visceral portrait of the chaos, passion, and futility of Spain's Civil War....Newcomers will want to go back and spend time with Hoffner in his youth and native land."--"Portsmouth Herald" (New Hampshire)
"The chaos of the war provides an evocative backdrop for this unlikely, noir-tinged story of a cynical father chasing after his idealistic son . . . This is Alan Furst territory, but it will also resonate for readers of European antiwar fiction, from "All Quiet on the Western Front" to "The Good Soldier Schweik."" --Bill Ott, "Booklist" (starred review)
"Gripp

"The Second Son" is an unusual blend of hard-boiled detective novel and love story . . . the narrative never flags. It proves that first-rate detectives are like good lovers and good novelists: keenly observant, intuitive and tough as nails. "Tara McKelvey, The New York Times Book Review"

Rabb works wonders, juggling Nazi sympathizers and anarchists and guilty bystanders and innocent warriors with an alacrity few in his generation can maintain . . . Inspector Hoffner flies off into the oncoming darkness, having accomplished Rabb's mission, of carrying to completion this engrossing trilogy on his strong shoulders. "Alan Cheuse, The Dallas Morning News"

A powerful, shocking and moving novel . . . Rabb is an accomplished storyteller as well as a superb stylist, and the conclusion of his trilogy is at once affecting and effective in its portrayal of the run-up to a global nightmare. "Jay Strafford, The Richmond Times-Dispatch"

In this stunning conclusion to his Berlin trilogy, Jonathan Rabb delivers a resounding historical tour de force--a brilliant depiction of a society at war with itself in which even the good guys commit brutal acts and no one will walk away unscathed. "The Washington Post Book World"

Remarkable A gripping book. "The Seattle Times"

Rabb's characters are compelling and his prose is hard-boiled and vivid, providing a visceral portrait of the chaos, passion, and futility of Spain's Civil War .Newcomers will want to go back and spend time with Hoffner in his youth and native land. "Portsmouth Herald (New Hampshire)"

The chaos of the war provides an evocative backdrop for this unlikely, noir-tinged story of a cynical father chasing after his idealistic son . . . This is Alan Furst territory, but it will also resonate for readers of European antiwar fiction, from "All Quiet on the Western Front" to "The Good Soldier Schweik." "Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)"

Gripping . . . Fans of Alan Furst and Philip Kerr will be rewarded. "Publishers Weekly"

An exhilarating bittersweet thriller that brings to life Spain during the violent civil war. "Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round"

Questions of political intrigue are all handled with expertise. The story's tempo builds and crescendos with a surprising denouement that will leave readers satisfied. Fans of Alan Furst, Philip Kerr, and Olen Steinhauer will feel very much at home with Rabb's "The Second Son," and readers of the Spanish Civil War will nod their heads in approval of how well Rabb researched this very important time in history when the world was at the cusp of a long and tragic war. "Rebeca Schiller, "Alvah's Books""

Rabb writes with the authority that comes from sure-handed research . . . [his] focus on history allows him to explore the tension between personal lives and the sweep of public events, arguably the novel's greatest strength. "Tom Glenn, The Washington Independent Review of Books"

This intense tale of a father seeking his two lost sons but finding an uncommonly resilient woman takes place in the mounting violence of Europe in July August 1936. Just offstage are events we thought we knew well: the Berlin Olympics and the revolt of the generals that is plunging Spain into civil war. With Jonathan Rabb's characters, we relive these events at street level, in gritty and authentic detail. "Robert O. Paxton, author of The Anatomy of Fascism and Vichy France""

Book Description

Rabb completes his masterful inter-war Berlin trilogy set on the eve of 1936 Olympics, and at the outbreak of Spanish Civil War.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 922 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Halban (29 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WV3FRG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,472 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are many mixed reviews of this novel around, but I enjoyed it. More serious than Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir, better plotted than Alan Furst, Rabb's half-Jewish policeman, NiKolai Hoffner, owes a debt to both. This is the third in a series and the last. I have read Rosa, the first, but not the second as yet. I did not find reading this one out of order any problem. Hoffner, removed from his job by the Nazis because of a Jewish ancestry he hardly recognised, travels to Spain in the throes of civil war in order to find and bring home his younger son, a war photographer. The plot builds very nicely to a heart-breaking climax. Along the way, I learnt much about 1930s Spain.
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Format: Paperback
"The Second Son" completes Jonathon Raab's Berlin trilogy, taking protagonist Police Inspector Nikolai Hoffner, to 1936 Spain in search of his missing younger son, Georg. Hoffner has been forced out of the Berlin Police because of his partially Jewish parentage. Using his connections with the German criminal underground, he goes to Barcelona, stronghold of the Spanish Republican Government (but in the hands of the Anarchists and Communists) to track down his newsreel photographer son who vanished while on a film assignment. What follows is a dangerous road trip across Spain, crisscrossing belligerent lines, toward a destination that is as dark and tragic as can be found in the literature of any time period.

Author Raab has a special skill for evoking a sense of place, creating credible, tension-filled atmosphere and peopling his stories with very original characters. This was true with his earlier book, "Shadow and Light" and is even more the case with "The Second Son". Nikolai Hoffner's portable hell in this latter novel is palpable and inescapable. The sang froid disposition that has been his armor for years as Chief Inspector of the Berlin Criminal Police, isn't of much use to him as he progressively becomes aware of what danger his son faces in a civil war that has made cold-blooded killers out average men and women. The cynicism and bloody complicity of the European governments of the period are well described here. Ironically, it is the professional criminals who maintain a semblance of honor and humanity in the midst of the conflict, and are Hoffner's only hope of salvation.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fitting climax to an extraordinary trilogy that vividly captures what went wrong in Europe between the World Wars. Through the eyes of a hard-bitten police inspector, Nikolai Hoffner, we have seen the Berlin of 1919 ("Rosa")and 1927 ("Shadow and Light") come to life in both vibrant and sordid detail. Now, in 1936, Hoffner has lost his job because of his Jewish ancestry, but all his old detecting skills become necessary again when his son disappears from view while on assignment as a news photographer in Spain. Hoffner travels across Spain as the Civil War erupts, accompanied by a woman doctor from Barcelona who is looking for her brother amidst the chaos of these early days of bloody struggle. Rabb gives us romance, a penetrating look at the grim realities of war, and the mounting excitement of a pursuit across Spain, with a shocking climax, in this powerful novel, which this reader was unable to put down.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book but not quite as sharp as the first two in my opinion. If you have read and enjoyed the first two episodes however you can't avoid seeing the story out.

The road trip across Spain in the early Civil War phase was a hell of a challenge and the whirl of characters and location got a bit out of control, to my mind. Anyone who takes in the challenge however at least deserves four stars.
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Format: Paperback
The Second Son concludes the trilogy whose predecessors were Rosa and Shadow and Light, Jonathan Rabb's dark and foreboding thrillers set in the troubled first three decades of the twentieth century in Germany. Rabb is a rare writer, for he has a scientist's eye for detail, combined with a poet's insights and a born story teller's originality.
The Second Son features once more the main protagonist of the previous two tales, Nikolai Hoffner, the veteran and once highly regarded Berlin policeman with a Jewish mother, who is now persona non grata with the Nazified police force due to his ancestry. Hoffner decides to journey to Spain on the trail of his son Georg who has disappeared in that country at the start of the civil war.
Hoffner suffers the rare pain of having one son, Sascha, who is a convinced Nazi and from whom he is completely estranged, and Georg who has embraced his Jewish heritage and married into a Jewish family. On his travels through Spain Hoffner's courage, strength and ingenuity are tested to the limit and his journey is full of unexpected twists and turns, as well as enormous emotional upheaval.
Rabb demonstrated in Rosa and Shadow and Light an extraordinary ability to conjure the mood of Weimar Berlin, and here he proves that his skills as a story teller are not restricted to that city for he brings civil war Spain alive in vibrant colour and a wide variety of characters both predictable and unpredictable.
Jonathan Rabb is clearly at the height of his powers as a story teller and his next novel will be eagerly awaited.
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