Thursday, May 24, 2012

Travel Back in Time with THE SEVENTH GATE & DEAD MEN

Out this month from Overlook, two new novels explore the darker sides of twentieth century history, from a lesser known chapter in Hitler's rise to power in 1930s Germany, to Captain Robert Falcon Scott's tragic Terra Nova polar exploration.

In The Seventh Gate, acclaimed novelist and author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and The Warsaw Anagrams Richard Zimler offers the first ever fictional exploration of the Nazi sterilization and murder of handicapped people, one of history's most overlooked crimes against humanity. Set in Berlin in the 1930s, The Seventh Gate tells the story of a young woman, Sophie Riedsel, who is forced to lead a double life when her father and brother join Hitler's Nazi movement. When a close childhood friend is sent to Dachau, Sophie begins to investigate, and eventually confronts one of the 20th century's most notorious crimes.

As the Nazis tighten their grip over German society, they begin to sterilize all those they consider "unhealthy" to the German race—individuals who are disfigured, epileptic, congenitally blind and deaf. Based on recent research and first person testimony into this moral crime, The Seventh Gate is a suspenseful, immensely moving, and ultimately shocking historical mystery that artfully reconstructs the chilling atmosphere of 1930s Berlin. 


"Zimler (The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon) surpasses himself with this coming-of-age epic set in Berlin at the start of the Nazi era ... The whodunit is captivating enough, but the book's power lies in its stark and unflinching portrayal of the impact of Hitler's eugenic policies on the infirm and disabled." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Mixing profound reflections on Jewish mysticism with scenes of elemental yet always tender sensuality, Zimler captures the Nazi era in the most human of terms, devoid of sentimentality but throbbing with life lived passionately in the midst of horror." Booklist (Starred Review)

"Zimler, a seasoned American writer living in Portugal, combines sexy coming-of-age adventures with coming-of-Hitler terrors in this powerfully understated saga." Kirkus Reviews

Birdie Bowers is a woman with a dead man's name—a secretive artist tortured by the mysterious death of her namesake, Henry "Birdie" Bowers, who along with Captain Robert Falcon Scott was one of five Polar explorers to perish during the 1912 Terra Nova expedition to claim the South Pole. Adam Caird is a bored computer geek—an unfocused drifter, a lonely romantic, and a self-described emotional vagrant. In Richard Pierce's debut novel Dead Men, a gripping Antarctic adventure and contemporary love story, Birdie and Adam are brought to life as they form an unlikely romantic partnership, joining forces to solve a historical puzzle one hundred years in the making.

Coinciding with the 2012 centennial anniversary of Captain Scott's fateful excursion, Dead Men tells the story of two journeys: one a century-old exploration of the world's coldest continent and the other a voyage of self-discovery and passion set in the present day. The 1912 discovery of Captain Scott's frozen body, located mere miles from a nearby food depot and shelter sparked global fascination with the remarkable story of his unlikely death. One hundred years later, Richard Pierce offers a luminous depiction of Scott's ill-fated mission, reimagined through a modern tale of obsession, pride, curiousity, and lust. As Birdie and Adam work together to discover the site of Scott's remains, now buried below ninety feet of ice, they learn as much about each other as they do about the men they are trying to find. Retracing the lives of Scott, Admundsen, Shackleton, and the other major characters involved in the race for the Pole, Dead Men combines a deep historical understanding with a sharply focused narrative to provide a picture of a time and a place both realistic and emotional.

Praise for DEAD MEN 

"An expertly told story that captures the detail and spirit of the Antarctic adventure, then and now. Not only a compelling novel but an excellent tribute to Captain Scott and his men."  Sir Ranulph Fiennes

"The story of Captain Scott gets under your skin ... fascinating." The Telegraph

"A book that had me captivated from start to finish. You don't have to be interested in exploration to enjoy this thrilling read." Andrew Gulli (Strand Magazine) 

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