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This is an auction for ZUGZWANG by Ronan Bennett.

“Remaining apolitical is a tall order for a Jew in 1914 Russia. The Bolsheviks are on the rise, tensions are mounting between alliance-seeking France and Germany, and acrid threats of pogrom and czarist repression linger in the air. Yet psychoanalyst Otto Spethmann prefers to stay above the fray and guard the middle-class standing he's achieved despite his humble roots. How ironic, then, that he's thrust into the midst of a murder plot involving power players across the political spectrum of prerevolution St. Petersburg. Bennett explains that his delicious title is a chess term "used to describe a position in which a player is reduced to a state of utter helplessness. He is obliged to move, but his every move only makes his position worse." That indeed appears to be Spethmann's predicament as he's stalked by the secret police, manipulated by old friends, frustrated by a treatment-resisting chess master, seduced by the daughter of a Jew-hating German sympathizer, and jailed by an overzealous policeman for refusing to reveal the real name of his daughter's dead boyfriend. Spethmann's a better chess player than even he realizes, however, and ultimately the good doctor navigates these (and many other) dangers by always thinking several moves ahead. Readers who love Anna Karenina as much as they enjoy a gripping mystery will find a little slice of heaven here.”
- Booklist (US)

More very favourable reviews on

Paperback 2007.

275 pages.

Very good condition.

The cost of shipping is $4.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston North following the auction.

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  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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