The Tenth Witness by Leonard Rosen

tenth

 

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What an interesting, thought provoking book.  It’s the story of a young French engineer, Henri Poincare, who in the 1970’s has designed a dive platform for searching for a sunken ship off the coast of Germany.  While there he meets and falls in love with a German woman named Liesel Kraus who comes from a wealthy industrialist family.  Her family got it’s wealth got it’s start during WWII making steel from Hitler and the Nazis.  Henri is hired by Liesel’s brother to develop a way to extricate gold from old computers, but is troubled by the murky history of the family.  When his adopted uncle, who had survived a concentration camp, dies, Henri is compelled to find out the story of the past that his uncle was never able to talk about.  During his exhaustive research, Henri discovers connections between the Kraus family and the Nazi war effort, through 10 witnesses, who are now strangely dying off, declared that Otto Kraus, the family patriarch, had been of great help to the Jewish slaves who worked in the mills.

Along the way Henri has questions not only about the Kraus family, but about his own ethics as well.  Is the expedient thing also the right thing, or is that only something he tells himself?  How Henri deals with the truths he discovers was as fascinating as the mysteries he solved.

This book is a prequel to the author’s previous book, All Cry Chaos, in which Henri is an older man, working for Interpol and on the verge of retirement.  I hadn’t heard of this book before, but I will have to read it now that I have read this!