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The End of Law: A Novel of Hitler's Germany

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A powerful story set in Berlin, in the 1930s and early 1940s, and woven around the fortunes of three people; an ambitious SS Officer, Walter Gunter, his naïve wife, Hedda, and a guilt-ridden SS Officer, Karl Muller. Gunter is intensely loyal to the Third Reich, entirely ruthless, and dreams of military renown, so is outraged to be placed in charge of the T4 euthanasia prog ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 15th 2016 by Lion Fiction
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Nitay This is a book about the breakdown of human morality, about the bloody holocaust! What combination of 4-5 letters can possibly be worse or more…moreThis is a book about the breakdown of human morality, about the bloody holocaust! What combination of 4-5 letters can possibly be worse or more damning than that?!(less)

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4.10  · 
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 ·  90 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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With so many WWII novels to choose from, I almost did not pick this one up. I am glad that I did. By focusing on characters who are modeled on actual participants in the German T4 program, the author manages a new point of view on an era that has had much written about it.

Our initial view of Hedda is one of a spoiled and vapid woman, and it is difficult to imagine her becoming involved in any worthwhile cause. She marries Walter, who is just as shallow but with a cruel streak. Karl is our guy to
Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
A powerful novel of moral choices in the Third Reich

The book revolves around the relationship of three people: Walter Gunter, a classic violent and sadistic SS Officer ; his wife, Hedda who is naive at first, but grows stronger as the book progresses; and conscience stricken SS officer, Karl Muller.

The Muller character is a fascinating one , an engineer and trainee doctor he is also part of T4, an SS managed program of euthanasia for the mentally ill and disabled. From a catholic upbringing he
Maureen Timerman
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
The End of Law is not for the faint hearted, it is not a happily ever after, and there is no one riding off into the sunset. It is a true story with fictional characters, and the worse part of the story is that it is real and did happen.
The horrors that happened in Hitler’s Germany are beyond reason, and yet people followed merrily along, and for what? The “Jew problem”, and then it went from there to gypsies, homosexuals, imperfect children, mentally ill individuals, and they were headed for ev
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Be prepared. This is a well written book but the subject matter is very difficult. Down has given us an unnerving novel of Hitler's Germany.

The characters are portrayed very well. Walter is a high official in Hitler's army and is involved with exterminations. His character is developed so well, he almost made me sick. His part in the novel really showed what happens to a man when he is devoted to his leader at the expense of his own family.

The reality this novel portrayed is shocking. It was har
Victor Gentile
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Therese Down in her new book, “The End Of Law” published by Lion Fiction gives us A Novel of Hitler’s Germany.

From the back cover: Berlin, 1933: as Hitler rises to power; the law–designed to protect and serve–becomes twisted to the will of those who dream of a pure Aryan race.

SS Officer Walter Gunther is intensely loyal to the Third Reich. His readiness to kill without question or remorse would seem to make him the ideal candidate to lead the T4 euthanasia programme. SS officer Karl Muller, a tr
Whispering Stories
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The End of Law is about WWII, though unlike other books about this devastating period in history, this book focuses on the lives of three individuals and their role in the war.

SS Officer Walter Gunter is a brutal, bloodthirsty man. He has no quarms about follwowing orders to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children, as ordered by Hitler.

His wife Hedda is a gullible woman, who is blind to the disgusting actions of her husband. They don’t have a happy marriage, as Walter is n
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This has been by far the hardest book I have ever read...I thought long and hard how I could write a review on such a horrific and heartbreaking subject and I just can’t , there are no words just sadness. It deserves all the praise I can give and far far more than a mere 5 stars and all credit to Therese Down for such writing. It’s a book that should be read, it’s a book that will break your heart as it did mine ... please let this never happen again.
Christopher Bradley
Jun 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Plodding and sometimes factually wrong. I struggled getting to page 104 where the author confused carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, a key point, after which I lost confidence in her and gave up. A dismal read.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was very hard to read and its not a teen read.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was not bad, I never knew the Reich ordered there own German ppl that were seriously ill or an invalid condemned to death, towards the end of book the las 60 pages was really interesting
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-read
WW II is a favorite subject and I really want to like this book. Unfortunately, I just could not read it. It leaned too far to the feminine side for my grumpy old man taste.
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, it was dark and intense but well written. It had all my emotions going and I nearly cry.
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Source: Free paperback copy from Kregel in exchange for a review
Rating: 5 stars for excellent
1933, Germany.
When the story begins, Hedda Schroeder, age 20, is a glamorous woman who is interested in a social life, and parties held in "smoky clubs." Her parents are Ernst and Mathilde Schroeder. Her father is a well-known German Chemist. Hedda began dating Walter Gunther, "a General Staff Officer, serving under Chief of Staff Officer Ludwig Beck." He is "on occasional social terms with Goeri
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was first introduced to the Holocaust as a ten-year-old when I was given a comic book version of The Hiding Place. Fascinated by the story of Corrie Ten Boom, I had both read the full version of The Hiding Place and seen the movie within a few years of that introduction.

As a teenager and adult, I went on to read other biographical and fiction narratives of World War II events, but all of them were from the perspective of the “good guys.” I read stories from the Warsaw ghetto, tales of many (G
Lisa Johnson
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Title: The End of Law
Author: Therese Down
Pages: 320
Year: 2016
Publisher: Lion Publications
My rating is 4 stars.
Hitler was a lost person in more ways than one along with the many men who followed his orders without question or conviction. The author points though to the youth who at the cost of their own lives spoke truth to their countrymen, reminding them of who the German people really were and should rise up to be again.
Many novels and nonfiction books remind us, teach us and make us aware of
Meagan Myhren-bennett
The End of Law
A Novel of Hitler's Germany
By Thérèse Down

The purity of the nation must be protected at any cost and those who could possible weaken the nation's might must be purged from existence. But when the next weakest link could be your own flesh and blood what will you decide?

In 1933, Hedda Schroeder becomes acquainted with two SS officers, one of whom she marries. Walter Gunther is driven to achieve honor in the name of German achievement and supremacy. She didn't know who she was marryin
Tamara Tilley
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: therese-down
THE END OF LAW was a chilling book that graphically described the lengths to which Hitler, and his officers, went in order to rid the world of those he deemed unworthy.

SS Officer Walter Gunther proves his loyalty over and over again to the ideologies of the Third Reich. This gets him notice, and he quickly advances in Hitler’s army. Because he kills without remorse, Gunther is the perfect choice to lead the T4 program. This program is set up not only to rid the world of the hated Jews, but also
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-reviews
Being a history buff, I was really interested in this book the first time I saw it. Especially since it revolves around the WWII era, Hitler, Germany and the happenings there. I found it especially intriguing. It begins a bit before the war is in full swing with Hedda, a very worldly inexperienced young woman. She marries well, mostly for wealth and position. But soon her life takes a dreadful turn as the war becomes more progressed and her husband more involved with Hitlers regime and his horri ...more
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

This book is a gripping, no-holds barred fictional account of Hitler Germany through the eyes of three people: Walter Gunther, a fanatically loyal and ambitious SS officer; his wife, Hedda, a naive woman who only seeks approval from her parents; and Karl, another SS officer who is both emotional at times, and starkly moral as the book progresses.

The book delves into the T4 program, showing a harsh reality behind t
Katherine Jones
May 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I have a mixed reaction after reading this book. On the one hand, it’s an important book. It took courage to write it, and it takes courage to read it. It’s an unflinching look at the brutal, evil operations of the Nazi regime — with a focus on the infamous T4 euthanasia programme — from insiders’ perspectives. It delves into quite a bit of detail, and the plot is unrelenting as the programme’s aim hits close to home for one woman’s family.

It’s a dark tale, as it must be, right up until its blea
Amanda Stephan
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've always been interested in this particular time period. How an entire country could condone the genocide of a race of people is disturbing, to put it mildly. But, taking instances out of our own generation that people wouldn't have even dreamed of allowing to happen ten years ago, things become a little clearer.

Therese Downs' book is an excellent look at the struggles of ordinary people. Some were called upon to serve their country - albeit wrongly - they answered that call. Honestly, what
Cheryl M-M
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Down does one thing really well in this story, she says it how it was. Regardless of the upsetting details, the horrific truth, the despicable depths humans were willing to go to just to get rid of unworthy humans.

Instead of the focus being on Karl and his crisis of faith, which is what I believe Down intended, the surrounding drama of domestic abuse drowned out that particular part of the story. Aside from the personal family drama I think there could have been more focus on the struggle or ind
Kelly Klepfer
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
The End of Law is a heavy, heavy read. I tend to shy away from wartime fiction. In my thought process there is no sense in reading something depressing when life can be so heavy all by itself. And I don’t like the omniscient point of view where the narrator knows the inner thoughts of every character. Two strikes for The End of Law, but once I got past the first couple pages I just couldn’t stop. I found so much horrific history buried between the covers, but I also saw the wonder of people sacr ...more
Tammy G.
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love to read about WWII. How people survived the atrocities of the evil regime but more than that I like to read of the brave men and women who had faith and helped others.
But as one reads this novel it becomes apparent that sometimes innocents are killed for no reason.
This may be a "made up" story but Ms. Downs tells the truth and recounts the terrible atrocities that befell many of the Jewish and German peoples. Funny (not in a laughing way) how when someone sets out to destroy a certain pe
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I love getting into the thoughts and lives of characters during WWII.
This book will bring you into the lives of people very much in the middle of all Hitler desires. Hedda is kind of clueless as to what is going on but she knows her husband is changing and it’s not for the better. She is suffering and so are her children.
This book isn’t overly fast, at least not to begin with, but if you press on you will be drawn into the story and lives of these characters.
A heads-up, there is language in this
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I recieved this book from librarything in exchange for an honest review.
I love everything about history, so I was very happy to have won this book. When I first started reading it, I wasn't too sure if I was going to like it. It took me a few pages to catch the rhythm and really start getting into it. I loved it! It is a fast read and I really felt like I got to know the majority of the characters and could have definite opinions of them. I appreciate an author who can make me feel things for th
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
End of Law deals with the T4 program (killing of those "unworthy of life" such as the disabled and mentally ill) and navigates the complexities of ambition and humanity well-such is Down's skill, when the characters were desperate and unsure of what to do, I too couldn't see a way out
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was interested in the description which is why I entered the giveaway. The book explores the ethical conflict that many German officers/ soldiers must have gone through...ordered to "eliminate" undesirables, and in the case of this book, children. Although I wish the book developed the characters' emotions more than actions, it was food for thought. The book contrasts two sides: loving family men who commit atrocities and cold, heartless men who co ...more
Kazimiera pendrey
this book was a really great read, in fact I would have to say that this book is the best in this genre that I have read in a very long time. this book was based on real events and people and in somxchang for an honest reviese parts was very harrowing but any book about Nazi Germany is usually more than a little harrowing. I was lucky to win a copy of of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley, historic
The End of Law was a really hard book to read, not only the subject matter the writing style and the lack or chapters/ breaks in narrative.

I liked that the characters were based on real life and that I could read from a different perspective from the normal holocaust / WW2 POV I normally read but I struggled with the rest.
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Therese Down is currently working as the Head of English at a High School in England and has been teaching English Literature and Language for over twenty years in a range of schools and colleges. She holds a MA in Employment Law and is experienced in personnel management.