Solimeos by Rhoda Lerman
Fleeing post-World War II Germany, an aristocratic young man and his Nazi officer father are spirited away to the Brazilian jungle to help create a new, occult-obsessed, German Reich…but love, ambition, and vengeance interfere.
In the waning days of World War II, fourteen-year-old Axel, his family, and their servants are cold and hungry in Pappendorf Castle. Baron Dietrich von Pappendorf, Axel’s father, is away, having spent much of the war traveling the world in search of an ancient, pre-Babel language that his occult-obsessed, Nazi masters believed would solidify Aryans as the master race. But when the baron returns to the family castle, it’s not in triumph. Axel and his family must flee Germany and embrace a life of luxurious exile in the Brazilian jungle.
The von Pappendorfs take up residence in a gilded cage carved from the hallucinogenic wilds of Amazonia and originally built for Hitler. Protected from Nazi hunters, the baron prepares for the Fourth Reich while Axel is guided by a shaman into the wisdom of the jungle. It’s there the young man discovers ancient truths linking an Israelite king to a river known as Solimeos. Axel is also passionately in love with his father’s mistress: beautiful, Polish-Jewish Luba. He becomes torn between his love for his father, his desire for Luba, and the growing realization that he and his family can never atone for the past.
Utterly original, highly entertaining, and sometimes shocking, Rhoda Lerman’s Solimeos—a provocative parable about the sins of the father visited upon the son—is a powerful and elegantly written story of family, fanaticism, and fate.
Year first published: 2023