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Plaut, W. Gunther.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1986. 333pp, cloth, $22.95, ISBN 0-7710-7164-7.CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Volume 14 Number 6
1986 November

The Holocaust, that most horrible and cold-blooded episode of genocide of the modern era, has lost nothing of its power to haunt and to horrify in the decades since the history of the Third Reich was written in blood. The Letter weaves strands of fiction into the familiar fabric of tragedy, in a story of the development of a young, assimilated German-Jewish girl from her carefree, romantic youth into a heroic and determined woman dedicated to a sacred cause.

Helga Raben's traitorous step-brother, determined to prove himself truly "Aryan," has turned upon his Jewish family, and become a courier for the Nazi High Command. One of his messages is a highly confidential letter written and signed by Hitler himself, expressing his intention to destroy European Jewry. When Helga acquires the dangerous letter, the Nazis are intent upon retrieving it and destroying her at all costs. She and her American lover are equally determined to preserve the evidence of this satanic evil. The flight and murderous pursuit crosses two continents and leads through the hell of a concentration camp. Absorbing and plausible, the story is a powerful adventure in which the fictional characters perform convincingly against the all-too-lifelike historical background. This is the first novel by an author of international reputation as a speaker, biblical scholar, and humanitarian.

Joan McGrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, Ont.
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