Karol “Ears” Borya had survived many months in the Mauthausen Concentration Camp during the Second World War. It was there that he first heard mention of The Amber Room, and after his release from the camp he went searching for the treasure. It was never found, however, and forty years later Borya is convinced that the past is behind him – until one day, he gets a visit from Christian Knoll, an “Acquisitor” interested in information about The Amber Room.
Soon after, Borya is found dead, and it's up to his daughter and her ex-husband to undertake a dangerous trip to discover the secret of the long lost artifact. Add into the mix two very dangerous “Acquisitors” who will do anything to obtain the treasure for their employers, and you have the makings of a captivating thriller.
This report prepared by Liz Cooper
Ballantine, Sep 2003, 24.95, 400 pp.
During World War II, the Nazis stripped the incredibly complex relief designed panels crafted from the Amber Room of St. Petersburg, Russia's Catherine Palace. Now decades later few survivors know what the Nazis did with the precious panels made from Baltic amber, but concentration camp survivor Karol Borya knows a few secrets about the lost set, but others are aware of that. Agents of those who want ownership of the precious panels kill him.
Karol's daughter, Atlanta judge Rachel Cutler, enlists her ex-husband Paul to help her learn why her father was murdered in Europe. They head to Germany where they soon stumble into a deadly race between two wealthy rivals intent of owning the panels to reconstruct their own Amber Room. Both sides are willing to kill the amateur Americans to win the race.
This is an exciting by the numbers thriller that incorporates much, if not all, of the known facts about the Amber Room. That makes for a two edged sword as readers will be fascinated with what Steve Berry provides about the panels and the room they created, but also will find the action abruptly sidebarred as if the author could not decide between nonfiction and a thriller. Still the characters make for a delightful ensemble, the historical tidbits enticing, and the thrills fun so that the audience receives a solid somewhat disrupted tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner