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by Marshall Brown
Thomas Dunne Books, October 2003
304 pages
ISBN: 0312311567

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Franz Schmidt is the senior auditor at Bankhaus Wertheim & Co. Bankhaus Wertheim & Co have decided that they are going to be the financial institute behind the Nazis. They want the business and profit that the Nazis can bring in.

For the General Director of the bank there are no moral issues, since the Nazis would simply go to another bank if they declined - someone is going to profit and it will be them! Schmidt is slightly uneasy, but is also unwilling to risk his position at the bank by objecting.

At first there is little change; however, the Nazi liaison has discovered that Fraulein Lilli Dressler is in fact half Jewish, which means she is unable to hold a job under the current law. Franz Schmidt sees this situation as a call to arms. He will sacrifice himself and his family to help her escape the system. Schmidt finds the situation rapidly spinning out of control as he is forced to choose between his ideals and his friends and family.

THE EYE OF THE ABYSS is not a conventional mystery. It is more a novel of suspense and historical fiction. This book does not contain a crime in the true sense; instead it presents a moral conundrum as Schmidt must find the strength to stand his ground. True, Schmidt is involved in planning a crime; yet, his crime is more an act of rebellion against an unjust power. His crime is not a moral crime or a crime against a person; he is trying to save the innocent from the guilty.

THE EYE OF THE ABYSS also deals with the idea of the Teutonic Order. While this might be a familiar concept to fans of World War II or historical novels, it is not clear to all readers. Although Brown does explain that this order did have a role in this war, he does not explain their history. While this information is not vital, it does provide the motivation for a large portion of Schmidt's behavior and decisions.

THE EYE OF THE ABYSS is the first standalone written by Marshall Brown. He has also written several books in a series featuring Inspector Anders.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, April 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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