The horrors of the Eastern Front crossed Estonia twice, first with the Germans pushing the Soviet Red Army to it limits, and then, in a reversal of fortunes, the Red Army decimating the German forces. Ordinary people who lived during these years in Estonia were faced with many choices such as cooperation with the Soviets, assistance to the Germans, or fighting both occupiers with the hope of regaining freedom for Estonia. In this cauldron lived Karl Kingsepp, the son of poor tenant farmers, initially attracted to the church as a means to escape a bleak future, but then drawn into the fighting that rages around him. Through all those years, while scrambling to stay alive and to protect his family, he also has to deal with the problems of his parishioners, who run the gamut from hardworking farmers to star-crossed lovers and fanatical nationalists. In the end he has to decide whether to stay in Estonia or to flee to the West on board a German ship bound for Danzig. This is a compelling story of one man s decision a decision that affects many people and has great ramifications for the future. Beautifully written with empathy and understand by Enn Raudsepp who has first-person understanding of the events in the novel. Compelling and unforgettable reading.
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Enn Raudsepp was born in Všndra, but left with his family in September 1944 when the Red Army again occupied Estonia. After graduate studies at McGill and Columbia Universities, he worked as a journalist at The Montreal Star, The Toronto Telegram and The Globe and Mail, and recently retired after teaching journalism at Concordia University in Montreal for 30 years. He and his wife Dr. Dana Hearne have three children and four lovely granddaughters. This is his first novel.
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