Taut, grip­ping Glas­gow thriller

The Herald Magazine - - Arts BOOKS -

al­most ex­actly as it was. Which, given what took place there, might be con­sid­ered strange. Even a lit­tle macabre. So what ex­actly had hap­pened, just two days be­fore Christ­mas in 1944?

Ever since the De­vizes de­ba­cle, its ring­leaders had been look­ing for a “mole” and in Rosterg – an older and vo­cally anti-Hitler fel­low pris­oner – they be­lieved they’d found him. For an en­tire night, he was beaten, tor­tured and fi­nally stran­gled un­der the gaze of around 100 men. Among those ob­servers – to his shame and con­fu­sion – is my cre­ation, Hart­mann.

IN the end, whose side is he on? At

the death, can he find the courage

to fi­nally make that choice be­tween

what he is and what a sys­tem wants

him to be? Whether peo­ple read this book or not (and I hope they do!), I urge ev­ery­one to find the time to visit this ex­tra­or­di­nary, at­mo­spheric place.

And if you go, try to imag­ine 4,000 men hud­dled be­hind its wire; see if you can ghost up the sound of pa­tri­otic Ger­man hymns or the cries of “Heil Hitler” as the crows cir­cle in the pine trees and the sad, life­less body of Rosterg is carted away un­der a sheet.

If you do, there might be an­other won­der­ful record from that sum­mer of 1968 which sud­denly seems ap­pro­pri­ate: I Say a Lit­tle Prayer by Aretha Franklin.

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