A breathtaking drama on the themes of power and morals, it has lost none of its relevance since it was first published.
The two main characters in this novel represent two generations and two ethical and political positions that are irreconcilably opposed to one another - conservative liberalism and terrorism. The story is told from the perspective of the minister of the interior of a small monarchy, who has just been brought down due to the wheelings and dealings of his grandson Bruno Collignon. He now accounts to himself for his life and his relationship with his grandson. We learn of the merciless power struggle between the two opposing characters, in which the whole apparatus of state is finally brought into play in order to fight out a family conflict.
The novel, still as topical today as it was when it was first published in 1962, is considered one of the most important political novels of the post-war period. This new edition of Breitbach`s main work will include hitherto unpublished material on the writing of the novel and a detailed epilogue by the editors.
I was avid to read your novel and between the exquisite first sentence and the last delightful line I spent an exciting night under its spell. I can do nothing but congratulate you!
Wolfgang Koeppen to Joseph Breitbach
Joseph Breitbach (1903-1980), born in the Rhineland, lived in France from 1929 onwards. In the early 1930s he met Jean Schlumberger, André Gide and the circles associated with the »Nouvelle Revue Française«. During World War II he was hidden by friends in France. After 1945 he became committed to the rapprochement of France and Germany.