Summary and book reviews of The 6th Lamentation by William Brodrick

The 6th Lamentation

by William Brodrick

The 6th Lamentation
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2003, 400 pages
    Jun 2004, 400 pages

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Book Summary

For readers of John Le Carré and Alan Furst, a remarkable debut thriller about love, betrayal and the shadows that war leaves behind.

Larkwood Priory, England: Father Anselm is stopped by an old man. What, he is asked, should a man do when the world has turned against him? Anselm's response: claim sanctuary. But the answer sets off more trouble than he ever could have imagined when the man returns, demanding the protection of the Church. He is Eduard Schwermann, a suspected Nazi war criminal.

Agnes Aubret has unburdened a secret to her granddaughter Lucy. Fifty years earlier, Agnes was in occupied Paris, risking her life to smuggle Jewish children to safety—until her group was exposed by an SS officer: Eduard Schwermann.

Not only has the Church granted Schwermann sanctuary before; in 1944 it helped him escape from France to begin a new life in Britain. As Anselm attempts to find out why and as Lucy delves deeper into her grandmother's past, their investigations dovetail to form a remarkable story.

William Brodrick makes a dazzling debut in this literary thriller where two seemingly unconnected lives gradually, shockingly converge. Brodrick, himself a former Augustinian friar, is a master of precision plotting, morally complex characterization, and crisp historical re-creation. In Father Anselm, Brodrick has crafted a unique and compelling hero. Taut and completely compelling, The 6th Lamentation promises to be the literary thriller discovery of the season.



"My bottom!"


The Prior, Father Andrew, was fond of diluting harsher well-known expressions for monastic use, but the sentiment remained largely the same. He was an unconverted Glaswegian tamed by excessive education, but shades of the street fighter were apt to break out when grappling with the more unusual community problems.

"It was abolished ages ago. He can't be serious."

"Well, he is," said Anselm.

"When did he come out with that one?"

"This morning, when Wilf asked him to leave."

The Prior scowled. "I suppose he declined to oblige?"

"Yes. And he told Wilf there's nowhere he can go."

The two monks were sitting on a wooden bench on the south transept lawn of the Old Abbey ruin. It was Anselm's favourite spot at Larkwood. Facing them, on the South Walk cloister wall, were the remnants of the night stairs from the now vanished dorter. He liked to sit here and muse upon his thirteenth-century ...

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About This Book

In this brilliant debut novel, William Brodrick draws upon his experience both as an Augustinian friar and as a practicing lawyer to create the unforgettable character of Father Anselm, a monk who must search the darkest corners of history to try to fathom the human capacity to do evil.

When Eduard Schwermann, an alleged Nazi war criminal, claims sanctuary at Larkwood Priory, the Church is thrown into a dilemma. Does it harbor him and risk a scandal in the media or cast him out into a world that wants to punish him for crimes he insists he did not commit? In the weeks leading up to Schwermann's trial, Father Anselm must find out why the Church had granted Schwermann sanctuary fifty years earlier—...
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Media Reviews

USA Today - Maureen Pao

Rich with medieval and biblical allusion, The 6th Lamentation is an intricate mystery of both the mind and soul.... [Brodrick] has written an engrossing novel in which appearances are disastrously deceptive and the sins of the father painfully come to bear on the sons (and daughters).

Kirkus Reviews

The storyline is intricate enough to make one squint at times, but it's never contrived for the sake of cleverness or cheapened merely to lead the reader astray. A slo-mo thriller. Literary, too.

Publishers Weekly

[A] masterful first novel ...The complex nature of the plot demands concentration, but the effort pays off handsomely as one is swept into this heartrending story.

Booklist - Keir Graff

Starred Review. This first-time novelist was an Augustinian friar before becoming a barrister; his chief protagonist, Father Anselm, was a barrister before becoming a monk. 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.

Library Journal - Angela Graven

Broderick's engrossing first novel is a detailed and compelling mystery about how the past can shape the future.

Author Blurb Jeffrey Deaver
It's indeed rare to find such a masterful blending of sharp suspense and literary resonance as we see in The Sixth Lamentation. Author Brodrick has produced a truly compelling novel.

Author Blurb Martha Grimes
The Sixth Lamentation is a meticulously-plotted, cat's cradle of a mystery with the interwoven stories pulled as taut as a piano-wire. The setting of Paris during the war is invoked to chilling effect. William Brodrick has written the first of what I hope will be a series of especially literate thrillers.

Reader Reviews

Mark Curtis

The 6th Lamentation
A thoroughly researched, well thought out, and intricately plotted work. The suspense held my attention to the very last page. All the loose ends (and there were many) were eventually all tied up. Also, it was fascinating to observe the intrinsic...   Read More


the sixth lamentation
Excellent first novel. Interesting and well constructed. Plot twist kept me reading, even on the second time around (for a book group discussion). Anxious for the second in the series!

Joan H

Please publish another soon.
I just loved this book. Hated finishing it. Is there another one coming soon? The moral dilemma was intriguing. And the writing beautiful. Mind you, I had to resort to my dictionary a few times! But that's good. Still learning in my seventies. ...   Read More

J Gilsenan

The style of writing is intricate and very polished. Writing which touches very difficult issues with much grace and style. I highly recommend this book.

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