Christopher Reich The Runner

ISBN 13: 9780747266242

The Runner

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9780747266242: The Runner
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At the end of WWII Erich Seyss, former SS officer and Olympic sprinter, known as the 'White Lion', uses his skills as a trained killer and escapes from the American POW camp holding him. He finds refuge with a shadowy organisation of former Nazis who plan to use his expertise in a breathtaking plot - a conspiracy that could change the destiny of Europe. Hard on his heels is Devlin Judge, an American lawyer who has his own reasons for wanting Seyss brought to justice. Devlin must find him at all costs - to prevent a catastrophe of horrifying proportions.

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Review:

Set against the backdrop of post-World War II Germany, The Runner is the story of Devlin Judge, an ex-New York City detective turned lawyer on the hunt for Nazi SS soldier Erich Seyss, recently escaped from an American POW camp. Seyss, a former Olympic track star known as "The White Lion," is responsible for myriad heinous war crimes, including the murder of a platoon of unarmed American prisoners--one of whom was Judge's own brother. Initially a member of the International Legal Tribunal, set to try former Nazis for crimes against humanity, Judge begs for the opportunity to track Seyss down. With only a week in which to do so, his hunt for the cold-blooded killer leads Judge to a race not only for his own life but for the future of Europe itself. Judge is pursuing a killer, but he is also chasing the ghosts of guilt, having decided not to enlist in the hopes of advancing his legal career: "Erich Seyss was his confession and his penance, his expiation and absolution, all tucked into a black-and-silver uniform with a death's-head embroidered on its collar and his brother's blood on its cuff."

The Runner lacks the crackling tension of Numbered Account, Christopher Reich's first novel. Even the moments of crucial conflict, or of bloody disaster, seem wan and pallid. The novel is, paradoxically, handicapped by Reich's respect for historical detail: his interest in presenting the grim realities of postwar existence leads him into extensive descriptions of place and time that fail to merge with the story he spins. These "set pieces" stand awkwardly apart, like dour history professors coaxed into supervising the machinations of rambunctious students. Reich's general fidelity to detail also means that the moments in which he temporarily throws accuracy to the wind are painfully apparent: how on earth would Judge, a well-fed and well-dressed American, manage to look as if he belonged in a German work-group detail? And when would any three-star general ever tolerate the gum-cracking insouciance of Judge's driver Darren Honey, a sergeant with no regard for military hierarchy? Oddly enough, the authorial liberties Reich takes with General George Patton, saddling him with a megalomaniac's hatred of the Russians and a schemer's plot to redraw the boundaries of postwar Europe, are largely successful and add a welcome note of barely contained evil.

The Runner works best as a moving meditation on personal and social disjunction: Judge, Seyss, Patton, and the rest are desperately engaged in deciphering the proper place for prewar rules in the postwar chaos--and in confronting the uneasy suspicion that perhaps, after all, there is no place for them or for their beliefs. Judge must move past his easy assumption that the Allied victory was not "just a symbol of superior might but of superior morality": "Overnight, he'd become the hunted, not the hunter.... At some point during the last twenty-four hours, he'd crossed over an interior median into unknown waters. He'd abandoned the rigid structure of his previous life, renounced his worship of authority, and forsworn his devotion to rules and regulation. He'd tossed Hoyle to the wind, and he didn't care." --Kelly Flynn

From the Back Cover:

"This is a wonderfully well written book, a sophisticated story of political intrigue, conspiracy, and treachery. Reich's evocation of post-war Germany in ruins has an uncanny sense of you-are-there; a trip into virtual reality--the author is a master of moody atmosphere and historic detail. A fascinating look at the world that existed between the hot war and the cold war, populated by larger-than-life characters who gamble for incredibly high stakes."

--Nelson DeMille, author of Lion's Game

Praise for Numbered Account:

"Smart and sophisticated--.--.--.--Wonderfully credible."
--The New York Times

"Reich keeps things moving at breakneck speed."
--The Wall Street Journal

"Fascinating--.--.--.--The tension crackles."
--People

"Chilling detail, suspense, and intrigue."
--The Denver Post

"Big story--.--.--.--Big enjoyment--.--.--.--A completely different kind of thriller."         --Newsday

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780440234685: The Runner: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0440234689 ISBN 13:  9780440234685
Publisher: Island Books, 2001
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Hardcover

9780375409738: The Runner (Random House Large Print)

Random..., 2000
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9780440295884: The Runner

Delacorte, 2000
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Dell P..., 2002
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