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The Sixth Lamentation by William Brodrick

The Sixth Lamentation (original 2003; edition 2004)

by William Brodrick

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6912113,777 (3.44)21
Title:The Sixth Lamentation
Authors:William Brodrick
Info:Penguin Books (2004), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Sixth Lamentation by William Brodrick (2003)



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Father Anselm was once a barrister but decided that the secular life was not for him and joined a monastery. One day a stranger appears at the monastery and asks for sanctuary, he is an accused Nazi war criminal. During the war a group of young people arranged to smuggle Jewish children to safety from occupied Paris until they were betrayed. Most were killed but Agnes Aubret survived the death camps to marry and settle in England. Now a younger generation is looking for answers and vengeance.

I came to Brodrick's books late and actually started further on in the series so this is a regression to the start. Whilst Father Anselm is a thread that runs through, this isn't a book about him really. The story is rooted in actuality but the characters and scenarios are fictional. The writing is spare but utterly gripping and the characters are allowed to develop but still leave questions at the end. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
A truly excellent book that was only marred because I didn't read it continously. The pieces were very finely woven but I was catching all of the connections until they finally were spelled out for me and I never caught the very last few ones. Worth a re-read all in one sitting sometime.
  amyem58 | Jul 15, 2014 |
In creating clerical detective Father Anselm William Brodrick, drew upon his own experience first as an Augustinian friar and later as a practicing barrister plus the actual story in the Sixth Lamentation is loosely based on the wartime experiences of his mother

Elderly Agnes Aubret lived through the German occupation of Paris and the persecution of its Jewish citizens but now time is running out for her as she is dying from motor neurone disease. At Father Anselm's monastery a man has just claimed sanctuary as he has been exposed as an SS officer and alleged war criminal.

This is the premise of the Sixth Lamentation which weaves a huge cast of characters spread over three generations and their interconnecting stories, through German occupied Paris to modern day London.

The only thing wrong with it was my own doing. Where I went wrong was listening to it as an audio book whilst driving… as the first third of the book introduces layer upon layer of story, endless characters and to make it worst I found out after that the hard copy had a list of characters at the beginning for reference!. I think if I had know this I would have read it instead of listening to it as I found it hard to engage with as I was, up until about one third of the way in, struggling with the vast cast and the French, German, Italian names.

I really admired the way the author managed this labyrinthine story with its twists and turns and revelations. The historical attention to detail was superb and as the author states 'I did not want to record a single detail that was not supported by a contemporaneous record.'

This is a novel that requires time and patience to fully appreciate it and I would imagine that it is a remarkable reading experience.

I haven’t been put off and intent reading A Whispered Name by the same author ( )
  jan.fleming | May 2, 2013 |
I had heard a lot about this novel and several of my friends had recommended it (indeed, a couple positively raved about it). I was, therefore, rather disappointed. While the basic plot about an alleged war criminal seeking sanctuary in an old monastery was promising, I just couldn't make myself interested in any of the characters. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Apr 11, 2013 |
A group known as The Round Table tries to save Jewish children during the Nazi occupation in France. Something goes wrong and they are arrested. Years later, the alliances and consequences of the Round Table become the elements of the trial of a Nazi war criminal. Who betrayed the group? Are people really who they are presumed to be? There is a common thread that links them all : Agnes Aubret. Father Anselm tries to put the pieces together and find out exactly what had happened years before. ( )
  graffitimom | Oct 2, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
There seems to be a new wave of fiction based on the Holocaust (what is meant by `the sixth lamentation' in this title) and investigations by the survivors and succeeding generations into the World War II experiences of their Jewish forebears. Other examples are The archivist (by Martha Cooley, 1998), Disturbance of the inner ear (Joyce Hackett, 2003) and The Nose (Elena Lappin, 2003), following the earlier Little boy lost (Marghanita Laski, 1949) and Sophie's Choice (William Styron, 1979).

Incredibly (but necessary for the plot), in the investigation in The Sixth Lamentation, the lawyer-turned-monk main character, entrusted with vitally important documents, `thought of making photocopies but didn't. The notion of duplicating the names of the dead seemed somehow irreverent, an act of trespass.' I found it distasteful and irreverent trespass (as in none of the other novels treating this topic) to use the dreadful events of the Holocaust as the basis of a thriller, over-long (430 pages) and crammed with secrets discovered, identities permuted, papers lost, found and destroyed, dramatic revelations, ecclesiastical plotting, revisionism, revenge sought, murder threatened, misapprehensions and cross-purposes galore.

The language is maladroit to the point of mystification. An adolescent girl records in her journal, after a boy tells her, `I think I may be attached to you', `I woke the next morning with a fountain spurting from the pit of my stomach'. Menstruation? Vomiting? First love? An attack of nerves? Who can tell?
added by KayCliff | editNew BooksMag, Hazel K. Bell
This first-time novelist was an Augustinian friar before becoming a barrister; his chief protagonist, Father Anselm, was a barrister before becoming a monk. The two vocations offer fitting keys--logic and compassion--to unlock the doors of this labyrinthine tale. A suspected Nazi war criminal, Eduard Schwermann, asks for sanctuary at Anselm's home, Larkwood Priory. When the Vatican asks Anselm to investigate on its behalf, Anselm finds reason to suspect the church itself may have been complicit in Schwermann's long-ago escape to England. In nearby London, dying Holocaust survivor Agnes Aubret shares a secret with her granddaughter, Lucy: Agnes was part of a French Resistance ring broken by Schwermann. Schwermann's trial begins with both Anselm and Lucy still hurrying to make sense of the past. Sticky strands of deceit, loss, and betrayal bind together a large cast of characters, and untangling them is both difficult and painful. Though Brodrick builds tension slowly (he's better at foreshadowing than planting clues), he's mapped his plot masterfully, and his approach to the thorny issues of justice and punishment is thoughtful and complex.
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April's tiny hands once captured Paris,
As you once captured me: infant Trojan
Fingers gently peeled away my resistance
To your charms. It was an epiphany;
I saw waving palms, rising dust, and yes,
I even heard the stones cry out your name,

And then the light fell short.
I made a pact with the Devil when the
"Spring Wind" came, when Priam's son lay bleeding
On the ground. As morning broke the scattered
Stones whispered, "God, what have you done?" and yes,
I betrayed you both. Can you forgive me,

(August, 1942)

Translated from the French by Father Anselm Duffy
Feast of Saint Agnes
Larkwood Priory, 21st January, 1998
First words
"Of course."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0751535818, Paperback)

What should you do if the world has turned against you? When Father Anselm is asked this question by an old man at Larkwood Priory, his response, to claim sanctuary, is to have greater resonance than he could ever have imagined. For that evening the old man returns, demanding the protection of the church. His name is Eduard Schwermann and he is wanted by the police as a suspected war criminal. With her life running out, Agnes Aubret feels it is time to unburden to her granddaughter Lucy the secrets she has been carrying for so long. Fifty years earlier, Agnes had been living in Occupied Paris, a member of a small group risking their lives to smuggle Jewish children to safety - until they were exposed by a young SS Officer: Eduard Schwermann. As Anselm attempts to uncover Schwermann's past, and as Lucy's search into her grandmother's history continues, their investigations dovetail to reveal a remarkable story.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A man arrives at Larkwood Monastery claiming sanctuary. Edward Schwermann is accused of Nazi war crimes, the chances are he is stained with blood, but politics demand that Larkwood shelter him. Father Anselm is given the task of finding out more about Schwermann's crimes.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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HighBridge Audio

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An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

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