READER REVIEWS/ INTO DARKNESS
A very well written and cleverly constructed novel. After the 20th July assassination attempt on Hitler, Max Hoffman, Chief of Criminal Investigations in Nazi Germany, is exposed as one of the plotters and has to go on the run. But before he can escape from Germany, he must first ensure the safety of his children, and then settle an account with an enemy. Interspersed with the story of Hoffman’s mission is a series of flashbacks, showing how he became disillusioned with the Nazis early on and rose into a position of trust with them at the same time as plotting against them.
This novel grips from the beginning and is excellently paced throughout, but perhaps the best thing about it is the study of Hoffman’s complex character, how he has to balance the acceptance of evil in the short term in order to try and destroy the Nazis from within.
This is a brilliant novel that I would warmly recommend to everyone. It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, but I shall certainly be looking for more.
This is a gripping, fast moving chase story – Hoffmann, a senior police officer, early Nazi party member and conspirator in the failed von Stauffenberg assassination plot against Hitler, goes on the run, pursued by two of his protégés, to save his family from danger and for revenge before seeking safety for himself.
Interwoven with this, by flashbacks, is a convincing picture of the precarious and difficult nature of life in Nazi Germany during the 1930s, even for a party member and close acolyte of Hitler.
There is also an interesting moral theme – in order to get himself into and maintain himself in a position where he could do some good and protect some people from the evils of the Nazi regime, Hoffman had to commit and participate in many evil acts himself; he wrestles with the questions of whether this is justification in principle and whether the good he has achieved outweighs the evil he has committed and participated in.
Great writing, great characters and an excellent read.
I really enjoyed this. Gripping narrative, swiftly driven from the familiar original premise of the failed plot to kill Hitler. The author writes in a fluid but sparing style which allows a cracking pace, and strips out any temptation to show off at length the knowledge he clearly has, both of Germany’s geography and landscape and of the Nazi late war era, especially the minds and motivations of police, Army and SS. This is an achievement in itself and allows good well-drawn characters to lead the reader onwards.
It is a pleasant surprise to find so many likeable characters, rather than stereotypes – even the deceiver is attractive in his false persona. There is much tenderness and little sentimentality in the ending.
Absolutely brilliant and loosely fact-based Second World War novel from the point of view of the German Resistance. Strong plotline, well-realised characters, and an exploration of human nature under extreme pressure in a part of the war that is little-known about in the anglophone world. I’d recommend this to anybody, as well as other works by this writer – a man of great perception and humanity.
Amazingly crafted by a truly gifted writer. An insightful synopsis of the pathogen of human psychology gone awry: a questioning modern hybrid of reflection without judgement. An accentuated look at Europe with the understanding of how it affected the German people who were caught in a the most dreadful period of our history. Fantastic, a storm of the most human of stories in Nazi Germany.
STUNNING NOVEL! I bought it to pass away the time as I was travelling a lot and thought it would fill in the time gaps waiting around. I found that (a cliche I know) I couldn’t put it down and was totally gripped from start to finish. I’ll read more of Mr Gill’s work and hope there’s a sequel to this one. One of the best books I’ve ever read.
Absolutely loved this book. Had me gripped from the beginning. Believable characters that I empathised with against a fascinating backdrop of a time in our history that interests me greatly, being half German. Well researched exciting story!
selected reviews of main titles since 1988
THE JOURNEY BACK FROM HELL
Winner of the 1988 H. H. Wingate Award for non-fiction.
‘This excellent book … even on the level of modest journalistic craft, [the interviews] are models of their kind … the most worthwhile book I have read all year.’ Andrew Brown, The Independent
‘Gill’s poignant book is not just about those who came out of the Holocaust. It is about humanity in torment everywhere.’ Piers Brendon, The Mail on Sunday
‘This indispensable book … I am proud to be a member of the jury which gave Mr Gill the H. H. Wingate Award for a book we should all read.’ Robert Muller, Association of Jewish Refugees Magazine
‘Mr Gill’s powerful and tragic book.’ Fergus Pyle, Irish Times
‘Anton Gill [is] a thorough and sensitive researcher … [his book] offers a complete moral education, marvellously on the side of life.’ David Pryce-Jones, Evening Standard
‘An infinitely painful, poignant, but necessary book.’ Martin Fagg, Times Educational Supplement
‘Anton Gill is a highly professional writer.’ Jeffrey M. Green, The Jerusalem Post
‘An analytic but no less poignant text.’ George Steiner, Sunday Times
‘Mr Gill’s excellent book.’ Dirk Bogarde, Sunday Telegraph
‘Provided me with a wide range of detail and a wider range of understanding’ Evy Tilzer, Kansas City Jewish Journal
‘Mr Gill is … tolerant and even-handed.’ Andrei Nazarov, The Times
‘An inspiring work.’ Bernard Josephs, Jewish Chronicle
‘Testifies to the horrors of the camps, but also to the great acts of courage.’ Seattle Herald
‘Wo Menschen derart unisono über sich selbst hinauskommen, erlangt Gills Dokumentation auch den Anspruch wichtiger Mittlereigenschaft.’ Klaus Täubert, Die Mahnung
BERLIN TO BUCHAREST
‘Richly descriptive chapters … and friendly contacts with the people he meets … make the book rewarding reading.’ Marlena Frick, The Scotsman
‘Anton Gill’s account is a success … the author’s attention to detail is astounding.’ Anne McElvoy, The Times
‘This richly detailed, well-written book – caring and deeply felt, but not sentimental.’ K. White, Library Journal, USA
‘A keen observer.’ Travel Source, USA
‘Conscientious observation by an intelligent layman.’ The Times Saturday Review
‘Highly readable.’ John Biffen, Sunday Times
‘A valuable reminder of what millions of our fellow Europeans have had to endure for more than 40 years.’ Gerald Kaufman, Manchester Evening News
A DANCE BETWEEN FLAMES
‘A treat … meticulously researched.’ Gerhard Neubeck, Minneapolis Star Tribune
‘There are countless books about Weimar Germany and Berlin in particular. None that I have read captures Berlin’s essence and variety as vividly as Anton Gill does.’ Elon Salmon, Yorkshire Post
‘A marvellous account.’ David Chadwick, Bolton Evening News
‘Vivid, detailed and powerful … ’ Kirkus Reviews
‘Anton Gill’s immensely informative and readable book.’ Sir Stephen Spender, The Times
‘Anton Gill has done for Berlin what Robert Graves did for the UK in THE LONG WEEKEND.’ Eva Tucker, The Hampstead and Highgate Gazette
‘A permanently useful handbook.’ The Independent
‘Anton Gill’s vivid account … ’ George Stern, Literary Review
‘Anton Gill has done a fine job.’ Niall Ferguson/Daily Mail
‘His lively book about old Berlin … ’ The Economist
‘This fast-paced wonderfully evocative chronicle of interwar Berlin.’ Publishers Weekly
‘Gill makes the best of a fantastically rich cast.’ The New Statesman
‘Anton Gill skillfully fills in the political background which led to the rise of Hitler, but peoples the foreground with a roll call of the greats in 20th century arts.’ Good Book Guide
THE EGYPTIAN TRILOGY (UNITED KINGDOM)
THE SIX HUY NOVELS (MAINLAND EUROPE) – (CITY OF DREAMS in French top ten fiction list; CITY OF LIES in German VOGUE top five recommended books).
‘Gill’s detective is an engaging creation who pulls you convincingly into his world. You don’t think of Ancient Egypt as having mean streets, but Huy’s did, and he goes down them in a fine swaggering style, artfully cloaked by his discreet pretence of servility.’ The Herald
‘Stylishly written, compulsively readable.’ Gay Times
‘Anton Gill can be commended for not having created an ancient Egyptian urban scene of crass improbability. It is even possible, for example, to identify the sources of some of his descriptions of daily life in the markets and alleyways, and on the quays of the Southern Capital. There is always the risk in writing a novel with a setting both exotic and ancient that detail and so-called authenticity weigh more heavily than story and style. Gill, happily, keeps his eye on his narrative line, and writes easily, without allowing costume drama to take over his story.’ T. G. H. James (Keeper, Egyptian Antiquities, British Museum), Times Literary Supplement
‘Anton Gill has transposed the conventions of a Chandler-style private eye story to the second millennium BC.’ Western Morning News
‘A real thriller – you feel the pull of Ancient Egypt, the simplicity and the complexity of life, when all men and all beasts belonged to the Pharaoh. The people, gods and kings step from the pages alive, warm and human.’ Eastern Daily Press
‘Exotic, erotic and highly recommended.’ Literary Review
‘La grande trouvaille d’Anton Gill est d’avoir situé sa série de romans à une période difficile de l’Egypte antique, à la fin de la XVIIIe dynastie (entre 1360 et 1350 av. J.-C.). Pour les yeux de son héros, le scribe Huy, il nous promène dans une société très rigide où les luttes de pouvoir entre l’armée, le pharaon, les marchands et les prêtres suscitent bien des manoeuvres. Grâce à ce personnage, aux personnages récurrents de son entourage, Anton Gill braque une loupe sur une période fascinante. Avec un réel bonheur d’écriture, il invente des scènes superbes que l’on n’est pas près d’oublier.’ Michel Amelin, Bulletin 813
‘Dans la série des “mysteries égyptiens” situés sous le règne de Toutankhamon, monarque mineur qui a succédé au pharaon hérétique Akhenaton et se trouve être l’héritier d’une révolution capitale pour l’histoire des religions, Anton Gill joint à des qualités l’attachement que fait naître un héros complexe: le scribe Huy. De livre en livre, il évolue, se voit confronté au vieillissement, aux amours ratés, aux amitiés trahies. La suite d’enigmes qu’il résout lui sert à éclairer celle de son existence, et la série y gagne une vraie profondeur.’ Christian Sauvage, Le Journal du Dimanche
AN HONOURABLE DEFEAT
‘Enthralling … the author writes so well that you are picked up and swept up into the narrative as if into a flood.’ Lois Mark Stalvey, Red Rock News, Arizona
‘An engrossing account.’ The Readers’ Review, The Booksellers’ Network, San Francisco
‘He writes engagingly and … with elegance. The story of the resistance is worth telling and retelling; Anton Gill has told it well.’ Brendan Simms, Times Higher Education Supplement
‘Emblematic of suffering on the one part, courage on the other … Gill is an historian and commentator who has made the Germany of the period brilliantly his own.’ A. C. Grayling, Financial Times
‘A memorable study.’ Ian Thompson, The Independent on Sunday
‘Timely and readable.’ Irish Press
‘Clear and objective.’ Simon Heffer, Evening Standard
‘A sober and useful analysis.’ Robert Harris/Sunday Times
‘Comprehensive, well-researched.’ The Independent
‘Briskly written and well balanced.’ David Cesarani, Jewish Chronicle
‘Those who did resist … get an excellent epitaph from Gill.’ Colin McAlpin, Irish News
‘Impossible to put aside … a truthful and enlightening account … splendid and compulsive reading.’ Christabel Bielenberg, Daily Mail
‘Succinct, informative and well-written.’ Kirkus Reviews
‘All those interested in the struggles against the Nazis should read this book.’ Martin Smith, Socialist Review
‘The bubbling richness of his anecdotes.’ Tunku Varadarajan, The Times
‘Compelling reading.’ Daily Express
‘Abounds in fascinating anecdotes.’ Shusha Guppy, Sunday Times
THE DEVIL’S MARINER
‘It brings back to the public memory a fascinating man who enriched the great story of English exploration.’ Contemporary Review
‘Anton Gill’s absorbing account … Gill’s well-researched biography is a tribute to an unusual figure, a vivid evocation of the explorer’s life and a reflection, ultimately, on the elusiveness of the past.’ Robin Buss, Independent on Sunday
‘The Devil’s Mariner is a colourful yarn.’ Sara Wheeler, The Times
‘A quietly enthusiastic biography.’ Claudio Vita-Finzi, Times Literary Supplement
‘Anton Gill creates a wonderfully vivid picture of the life of a 17th-century buccaneer.’ Lady Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
‘Anton Gill has skillfully set what is known about him in the context of his time … Nelson himself was to say that Dampier’s Voyages were the most interesting books he had ever read. Anton Gill probably takes us as close as is possible to Dampier.’ Tom Pocock, Literary Review
‘Serious but plenty juicy: a treat for both aficionados of modern art and readers of celebrity bios.’ Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
‘La Guggenheim had a lot of sex and a lot of fun. Anton Gill gives full credit to her for both in this entertaining biography.’ The Times
‘Anton Gill tells this extraordinary story with vigour and panache. He does his best to understand his difficult subject, for whom he shows a commendable sympathy, and has taken as much trouble in unravelling her crazy love life as in investigating the Macchiavellian complexities of the international art world.’ Selena Hastings, Sunday Telegraph
‘Gill does ample justice to Peggy as an art patron and gallery owner … this entertaining and informative work.’ Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
‘Anton Gill’s biography [is] brisk, efficient … often touching and always richly entertaining.’ Hilary Spurling, Daily Telegraph
‘How interesting can an art collector be? Well, “very” is the answer from this generous and discursive biography.’ Lynn Barber, New Statesman
‘An engaging, racy read. Gill is good at chronicling Guggenheim’s artistic progress and connections.’ Andrew Lycett, Literary Review
‘As an introduction to the Italian Renaissance Il Gigante could hardly be bettered.’ Daily Mail (London)
‘A few pages into Anton Gill’s new book and any readers who have ever seen a Renaissance painting or sculpture will be packing their bags and heading for Italy. Not a page goes by without the excitement and drama of this period catching at your imagination … a compelling story.’ Country Living
‘There is much of value in this short book … richness of information and interest … and handsomeness of the tribute it pays to a fascinating time, a deserving city, and a truly great artist.’ Financial Times
‘This excellent account of the world’s greatest sculptor.’ Sunday Herald
‘Informative and accessible.’ Sunday Times