Publishing year: 2014
I got this book for my birthday. I’ve wanted to read it for a long time since I loved the previous books of the trilogy and Ken Follett is one of my favourite authors.
So far I’ve only read 50 pages. I’ve re-met some of the families from the previous books. First, we start in East Germany and we re-meet Rebecca, the Jewish girl who in the previous Carla adopted. Rebecca is a teacher and married to Hans. Yet, we see that there is something going on between these two, and Rebecca thinks that her husband is having an affair. When she receives a terrifying letter from the stasi, the German secret police, to go to their headquarters to confront some accusations, she sees Hans there and realizes that he works for the stasi, something she hates. He has lied to her all the time, and Rebecca kicks him out of their home. The man, who I think is hideous and cruel, threatens to take revenge on her and her family. So the consequences are soon at her doorstep. She’s fired from her school, and even Walli, her younger brother, who is some kind of music geek, has a confrontation with Hans when at the checkpoint between East and West Berlin, Hans busts the boy’s guitar, thwarting his possibilities to sing for money.
The other family is George Jakes, who is the son that Greg had with a aspiring black actress. I didn’t remember much of this story. Now after finding a summary, I now know who they are. Greg was horrible Lev’s son with his mistress Marga. Greg now has a relationship with his son George, but since he is a senator, he isn’t very open about it, but it’s a public secret. George Jakes shows us the fight in the United States for civil rights, and he goes on what is called a freedom ride, which means going to the south and making sure the anti-segregationist law is respected. Soon they find trouble when people in Alabama attack the bus where he and other people are travelling. How scary! Those men seem to know no limits, and they would have killed George and the rest. How can somebody hate another person so much just because of the colour of their skin? I really can’t understand that. I can understand indifference to people who are nothing to you or you think are different to you. But such hatred! I really can’t understand that! Was it simply hatred or there was a reason for it? It’s hard for me to understand racial hatred. For example, I understand people trying to defend their families and their income if some other people might take jobs which, fairly or not, the former considered to be theirs. But hate somebody because of the colour of their skin? That’s as preposterous as hating somebody because they are blond or green-eyed. I guess that hostility comes from ignorance and fear to the unknown. I want to believe that hatred is another reaction to fear.