D.M. Dutcher 's Reviews > The Kingdom of Shadows

The Kingdom of Shadows by K.W. Jeter
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's review
Jul 15, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, indie

A good, if dark story about two innocents in Germany during the dark time before and during the second World War. It was too dark and too internal for me to enthusiastically like it, but if your taste is to the somber you might enjoy it more.

Two children in Germany have two different destinies. Pavli is a Lazarene: a member of a gypsy tribe rumored to have heard secret knowledge from Christ about how to live forever. Marte is a half-breed Lazarene, whose father hopes she can pass as the Aryan ideal with her cool blond looks and blue eyes. Pavli suffers tremendous loss and horror, while Marte rises to the heights of film stardom yet is little more than the plaything of powerful men. But blood will tell, and as the war ends, the two must face their heritage and survive.

It's hard to say I enjoyed the book, as enjoyment really isn't something I'd think it's trying to evoke. It's more a meditation on the insanity of man, I guess. Dark reading, and a bit too internal for my tastes. This might be due to Marte's and Pavli's passive status. Germany then was a big machine that grinded up people, and there was not much for the powerless to do there. Even escape wasn't always a relief, and the two characters react to situations rather than drive them. I agree that a little more focus on the Lazarenes might have been good: they were a fascinating idea, and one I hope he revisits in other books.

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