A Lily of the Field: Book summary and reviews of A Lily of the Field by John Lawton

A Lily of the Field

By John Lawton

A Lily of the Field
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2010,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

Vienna 1934. Ten-year-old Meret Voytek becomes a pupil of esteemed musician professor Viktor Rosen, a Jew in exile from Germany. Three years later, aware that the Nazis are advancing, Rosen tells his promising pupil that he must leave Vienna for London. When Vienna quietly comes under Nazi rule, Meret witnesses the repercussions for the city’s Jews, but when her orchestra becomes a division of the Hitler Youth, she complies and wears the uniform. Meanwhile, across Europe, Dr. Karel Szabo, a Hungarian physicist, has been interned in a camp on the Isle of Man. Shortly thereafter, Szabo is transported to Canada and rescued by the Americans, who recruit him to join the team in New Mexico building an atomic bomb.

In his ninth book, Lawton moves seamlessly from Vienna and Auschwitz to the deserts of New Mexico to London, illustrating the fascinating parallels of the enemy alien, Szabo and gentile Voytek, as fate carries each across the distinct and untraditional battlefields of the destructive war to an unexpected intersection at the novel’s close. The result, A Lily of the Field, is Lawton’s best book yet, an historically accurate and remarkably written novel that explores the diaspora of two Europeans from the rise of Hitler to the postatomic age.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Those expecting a conventional crime novel should be prepared for two distinct stories with overlapping characters, only one of which involves a criminal investigation." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Lawton vividly limns a world weariness contrasted with earth-shaking historical events, all the while unraveling a complex and compelling mystery that will not be quickly forgotten. Highly recommended." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Lawton’s fifth Inspector Freddie Troy novel, starring the aristocratic Scotland Yard copper, is the best yet in a consistently strong series." - Booklist

"Another complex and compellingly readable historic thriller from Lawton, full of profound questions and memorable characters." - Kirkus

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Author Information

John Lawton Author Biography

John Lawton is a producer/director in television who has spent much of his time interpreting the USA to the English, and occasionally vice versa. He has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter and Kathy Acker. He thinks he may well be the only TV director ever to be named in a Parliamentary Bill in the British House of Lords as an offender against taste and balance – he has also been denounced from the pulpit in Mississippi as a `Communist', but thinks that less remarkable.

He spent most of the 90s in New York – among other things attending the writers' sessions at The Actors' Studio under Norman Mailer – and has visited or worked in more than half the 50 states – since 2000 he has lived in the ...

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