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Jonathan Ball

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“Exhilarating follow-up” to Philippe Sands’ East West Street to be published soon

The “exhilarating follow-up” to Philippe Sands’ East West Street will be published by Jonathan Ball in hardbook and e-book in 2019 or 2020, The Bookseller recently announced.

Named Non-fiction: Narrative Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, A Death in the Vatican is a historical detective story that sets out to uncover the truth behind what happened to Nazi politician and SS-member, Otto von Wächter, indicted in 1946 for “mass murder”.

A Death in the Vatican is based on research that began in 2010 and continued through the making of the acclaimed BBC Storyville documentary “My Nazi Legacy”. It is also the subject matter of a BBC Radio 4 series and podcast that will be broadcast in early 2018.

SS Brigadesführer Otto Freiherr von Wächter was a minor character in East West Street who presided over an authority on which ground hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed. Von Wächter was indicted for murder by the end of the war and went on the run. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans and the British, as well as both Poles and Jews, he spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps before making his way to Rome and being taken in by the Vatican where he remained for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the “ratline” he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after having lunch with an “old comrade” whom he suspected of having been recruited by the Americans.

By seeking answers to the questions of Wächter’s youngest child, in A Death in the Vatican Sands will offer an account of the daily life of a Nazi fugitive, the love between Wächter and his wife Charlotte, who continued to write regularly to each other while he was on the run, and insight into life in the Vatican and among American and Soviet spies active in Rome at the start of the Cold War.

Jenny Lord, publishing director for Weidenfeld & Nicolson Non-fiction, of which Jonathan Ball is a local distribute, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Georgia Garrett at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Vicky Wilson at Knopf acquired US and Canadian rights from Melanie Jackson.

Lord said: “We are thrilled that Philippe has chosen A Death in the Vatican as his next book project. With his rare ability to map intimate human stories onto a dramatic political landscape, his curiosity and wisdom, we feel certain this book will be an exhilarating follow up to East West Street.”

Lord said: “We are thrilled that Philippe has chosen A Death in the Vatican as his next book project. With his rare ability to map intimate human stories onto a dramatic political landscape, his curiosity and wisdom, we feel certain this book will be an exhilarating follow up to East West Street.”

Sands will in conversation with Judge Dennis Davis and author Deborah Lipstadt at the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

 

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