Book of Kings
... Underlying these forces that are transforming world society, the
biblical desert of the prophets revolts against Hitler's technological
north as Justin allies himself with fellow Algerian Eli Hebron,
a Jewish organiser of world-revolution and together they publish
the Paris broadsheet Justice. In his double role as French literary
prodigy, Justin falls in love with Helene, as does his admired friend
David, who has recently broken off with the Hungarian actress.
The centrifugal forces of class, race, and culture lead both men to marry the wrong women - Justin fails with Helene and marries Luz - and from thence the four Fleurusians become lost to each other across the vast landscapes of World War II.
The European holocaust of the Jews, metastasizing to tens of millions
from all races and religions, is at the story's center - and David
and Helene Sunda at first flee their families' conservative traditions
and return across Stalin's Russia to assume responsibility. On the
way, their son the future Red Brigade terrorist, Alaric, is born
in a Trans-Siberian railway compartment. In Berlin - after a threatening
meeting with Hitler - David’s family connections with the
tank-commander Guderian assure him a place as witness to the Center
Army advance on Moscow, while behind them the Einsatzgruppen roundup
the Jews. At Smolensk, David soon joins the July 20 plot on Hitler,
deserts, and ends up in a Polish concentration camp. Helene must
survive as a French woman in Nazi Germany.
Meanwhile, Duncan Penn has been cut off from his friends in a vacuous
New York marriage, and Justin is separated from Luz in Algeria,
where he for the first time realises his father's place in the Arab
anti-colonial revolt. As France's Vichy regime spreads to North
Africa, Eli Hebron seeks Justin out as a natural leader of Europe's
anti-fascist partisans, and Justin lives out Hitler's war at a pivotal
Resistance farm in the Besancon region, where his wife rejoins him.
Duncan Penn returns to liberate his friends as a Major in Patton's
army at the Bulge, where amid indescribable violence he is fated
to die without meeting them again. Johannes witnesses the burning
As Paris is liberated and an exhausted Europe grows conscious of
the massive crimes committed on its soil, Luz, Justin, David, and
Helene meet again at the Le Treves' family table where they had
loved each other before the war. But the powerful civilisation that
once united them has given way to new forces building the 21st Century.
The Sundas become New Yorkers and David leaves Helene to raise their
children, going alone into the Amazon jungle on a speculation to
rebuild their family fortune. Similarly, Justin leaves Luz in Paris,
at last embracing the desert as a symbolic leader of the FLN revolt
against the French, embodied in Helene's officer brother Jean-Marc's
presence during the Battle of Algiers.
The plot returns again to Eli Hebron in Paris, whose failed revolution has evolved into the 1960s Red Brigades, as he and Alaric Sunda attempt a violent coup on the French state.
Back to top ^