Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gambits and Pawns

The Death's Head Chess Club by John Donoghue

Obersturmf√ľhrer (1st Lieutenant) Paul Meissner's battle injury has taken him off the front lines, and put him in Auschwitz, assigned to bolster flagging morale in the camps. His superiors are skeptical about his chess club idea, especially if he's allowing officers and enlisted men to play against each other. These doubts fade with the club's popularity, boosted by the betting on the side. All seems to be going well until Meissner hears about a Jewish prisoner, the one they call the Watchmaker, who is apparently "unbeatable" at chess. What better way to prove the superiority of Aryan intelligence and raise the men's spirits than to defeat this Jew. However, Meissner insists it be a fair game, the Jew must play to win, or beating won't be satisfactory. So begins a relationship between Meissner and the Watchmaker (better known as Emil Cl√©ment), as complex as the game itself, the moves of which are only revealed years later, during the 1962 international chess tournament in Amsterdam.

"The Death's Head Chess Club" by John Donoghue, published by Atlantic Books London, released March 5, 2015 is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books (for other eReader formats), iTunes, the Book Depository (free worldwide delivery), new or used from Alibris or from an IndieBound store near you. I would like to thank the publishers for sending me the ARC of this book for review via Curious Book Fans (which is presently on hiatus). 
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