The Books07/29/2015 07:26
Tree of Faith Series
The Tree of Faith is a series of novels dealing with the connection of religion to the World War II conflict. The novels draw upon real life histories but at base the novels are fictional and do not reflect real opinions or characters. The experience of the conflict is seen from many angles both of oppressor and victim and tracks what motivated such acts and how did the acts influence the religious perspective of each character. The series will be limited to five books three of which have already been released 'Whispering Birches', 'Truth in Ash' and Fallen Beech. The fourth book is scheduled for release in late 2015 being 'Blood Orange Blossom'.
Paul Richard Sully's first novel confronts the trauma of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Seventy years ago in 1944, the camp was at the height of its murdering capacity and Otto Adolf Eichmann had set his sights upon the half million strong Jewish community in Hungary. In Auschwitz, remarkable events were unfolding. Franz Wolff, an invalid SS soldier sent to Auschwitz as a guard finds himself put in charge of the Materials Section (later known as Kanada) where confiscated possessions are recycled and sent back to Germany. Slovakian Jewess Elena Prikaznova cheats her way into Kanada, it being the most attractive address in the camp. On discovery, she is forced to sing for her life and thereby captivates the heart of Franz and others. Changing his ways, he sides increasingly with the inmates setting up an illegal infirmary for Typhus victims, protecting inmates and eventually saving Elena's sister from the gas chamber. His acts of contrition leave him as a target for the Gestapo.
Truth in Ash
In the second novel, the story continues from 'Whispering Birches' and explores the role of the Catholic church in the WWII conflict. Franz Wolff grows up in a divided community on the Austrian border to Czechoslovakia. Against his family's wishes, he joins the Nazi Schutzstaffel, excited by its youthful exterior. His life as a soldier is cut short when he is wounded in action in Leningrad. Moving to his post-war experience as a hunted war criminal, we find that his love story with Elena in the camp is not to be fulfilled, for instead she has moved to Palestine with her newly wed husband. Under a cloud of depression, Franz rebuilds his life until 1971 when he is arrested and tried for war crimes. The inmates, 'his former friends', now show their true opinion of the brutal guard. His acts of compassion are lost in intimidated witnesses and the taboo of testifing for a Nazi guard. Elena appears and testifies, though she refuses to even look at him. She turns the tide and other witnesses then back up other acts of rescue that Franz has performed. He is cleared on all accounts, though there is still doubt that he appeared on the Ramp and who knows whether the trial fully disclosed the truth.
The third novel in the series introduces a new character in Matthew Dixon, grandfather of Jeremy Dixon. We first see him as an eccentric larger than life character who recklessly bumbles his way through life, scorning the church and teaching his grandson about the Pagan treasures of Middle England’s Downs and Cotswolds. His death leaves behind a strange legacy, for Jeremy finds out his grandfather’s wartime experience. Having led a privileged life of Shanghai, he found himself fleeing through the crumbling empire to end up in North Africa. Following a rebuke from his Commanding Officer for cruelty, Matthew is assigned to a quiet post, administering Prisoner of War camps in Libya. After a sensitive posting in Cairo, he finds himself in North Germany. In his work, he witnesses the capture and suicide of Himmler. Amongst the retinue, he meets the arrogant Lukas Armbrecht who relates to Matthew the fall of the Nazi empire and his role in Auschwitz. The two men overcome their differences and become lifelong friends, though their lives follow very different courses. Through the story, his grandson Jeremy gets a very different view on his cultural heritage and in particular its influence by Paganism, but he is left with many unanswered questions.