Author: Michael Andre Bernstein
Edition: 1St Edition
Release Date: March 2004
Where does family end and history begin? Moritz Rotenburg, the wealthiest businessman in the crumbling Hapsburg dynasty, cannot answer that. He knows only one thing: he must save his son.
It is 1913, and the embers of the splintering Austro-Hungarian Empire are about to become the spark for the most terrible war the world has ever seen. The tension is palpable in the castle of a provincial town on the border between Imperial Austria and Czarist Russia. From the wealthy aristocrats in their luxurious country estates to the impoverished Jews in the tenements of the Josef Quarter, words are whispered and plans are being made. The residents are engaged in a daily battle of wits for survival with their aristocratic Count-Governor, who rules the province as though it were his own private estate. Hans Rotenburg, Moritz’s privileged son and a budding revolutionary, is also thinking about assassination, as well as the affections of a beautiful woman. In the makeshift synagogues on the other side of town, Moses Brugger, the enigmatic “wonder rabbi,” has thrust himself into the town’s cauldron of political, sexual and religious turmoil, his fanatical followers proclaiming him the next Jewish messiah. Bruggerand every other player in this dystopian worldis watched over by Jacob Tausk, the Count-Governor’s unlikely spy master, a brilliant former rabbinical student who is determined to revenge himself to ease his tormented soul.
All of these players are about to clash in mutual suspicions, erotic attractions and conflicting schemes, culminating in an attempt of political and religious murder that will shatter lives and change the course of history. At the heart of it all lies a fundamental questioncan a father’s love overcome his son’s need to destroy their entire world and way of life?
International literary sensation Michael André Bernstein has crafted a thrilling novel that twists and turns to its gripping conclusion. But this is much more than an absorbing story that stands in sharp relief against one of the darkest tableaux of world history: it is also a compelling and accomplished exploration of what drives us as flawed and fearful beings; of the choices we must make for love, for money, and for the acknowledgment of our own personal history.
Conspirators evokes a completely believable world on the edge of collapse, peopled by characters who are each standing at the edge of their own precipice. An altogether singular and imaginative story, one that readers and critics will hail as an intense emotional and intellectual experience, Conspirators marks the debut of a major Canadian voice.