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.
“Rhoda Lerman is a find. Go out and find her.”
–New York Times
“Solimeos is an astonishing novel of epic sweep in which The Third Reich is reborn in the forests of the Amazon¾singular in its exquisitely detailed, bold re-imagining of the aftermath of the darkest chapter in twentieth century history. The most astonishing and original book I’ve read in years, this tale of adventure and intrigue is as horrifying and shocking as it is sublime and beautiful.”
–Jay Neugeboren, author of The Stolen Jew
“Lerman’s is a unique voice—wildly funny, achingly spiritual, profoundly Jewish and feminist at the same time.”
–The New York Times Book Review
“The very opposite of a minimalist, Lerman proves herself mistress not only of side-splitting one-liners but also of pregnant perception about faith and virtue.”
“Reality is canted through Lerman’s slyly irreverent sensibility, one of the most idiosyncratic in contemporary prose.”
Solimeos is captivating…Rhoda Lerman’s final novel traces an intercontinental Nazi plot, breathtaking danger, and twisted loyalties. Meanwhile, interwoven throughout the story are poignant glimpses of rare beauty and heartfelt passion. Solimeos is an irresistible read—a genuine page-turner.
–Lela Gilbert, author of Saturday People, Sunday People