Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin, 1936
Berlin’s famous Tiergarten is translated as “Garden of Beasts,” and this play on words is a fitting title for a story based in the Nazi-controlled Berlin of 1936. An American professional killer who learned his trade as a US soldier on the Western Front in World War I, Paul Schumann is pressed into service by his government to murder a ranking official of the Nazi Party. Schumann, a man troubled by his trade, speaks fluent German and is sent to Berlin masquerading as a member of the American Olympic team. He quickly finds Berlin to be a confusing mix of amoral Nazis and fervent, yet terrified, anti-Nazi stalwarts. He finds love and friendship at the same time he encounters savagery of a type he had not seen in the trenches or in his previous life as a hit man. An intrinsically direct and straightforward personality type, Schumann must adjust to shifting allegiances and outright betrayal at every turn.