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‘At once a suspenseful manhunt story and a knowing portrait of the perils of ordinary life in Hitler’s Germany, The Seventh Cross is not only an important novel, but an important historical document. This new, unabridged translation is a genuine publishing event’ – Joseph Kanon, author of ‘The Good German’ and ‘Leaving Berlin’
‘A masterpiece. Written in the midst of terror, but with such clarity, such acuity; Seghers is a writer of rare insight’ RACHEL SEIFFERT author of A Boy in Winter
Seven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers’ fingers. It becomes a matter of pride to track him down, at whatever cost.
Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. Hunted, injured and desperate, time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding in his escape will pay with their life.
The Seventh Cross is one of the most powerful and influential novels of the twentieth century, a tense thriller that helped to alert the world to the grim realities of Nazi Germany.
‘It was [Seghers] who taught my generation and anyone who had an ear to listen after that not-to-be-forgotten war to distinguish right from wrong. The Seventh Cross shaped me; it sharpened my vision’ GUNTER GRASS
‘A fascinating insight into life in pre-war Nazi Germany just as the horrors of the Nazi regime were beginning to unfold. This is an important novel, as much for its picture of German society as for its insight into the psyche of ordinary people confronting their personal fears and mixed loyalties’ SIMON MAWER, author of The Glass Room
In The Seventh Cross, Seghers’s aim was to write, ‘A tale that makes it possible to get to know the many layers of fascist Germany through the fortunes of a single man.’ She had four copies of the manuscript: one was destroyed in an air raid; a friend lost the second copy while fleeing the Nazis; another was found by the Gestapo; only the fourth copy survived, which, fortunately, she sent to her publisher in America just before she escaped Nazi-occupied France. Published in 1942, The Seventh Cross was an immediate bestseller and was the basis for an MGM film starring Spencer Tracy in 1944. It has been translated into more than 40 languages.
Margot Bettauer Dembo’s expert new translation makes the complete text of this great political novel available in English for the first time.
Imprint: Virago UK
Publication date: 12/03/2019