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Munich Signature Paperback – Apr 1 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (April 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141430109X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414301099
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #220,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

DISCOVER THE TRUTH THROUGH FICTION
Who will dare to take a stand?

In May 1938 Hitler's forces continue to swallow pieces of Europe, forcing Jews to flee from his ever-tightening net. Yet where can they go? While nations argue politics and negotiate payments, and British prime minister Neville Chamberlain accepts Hitler's signature of "peace in our time," homeless Jews bob on the open sea in "coffin ships."

After suffering through internment at Dachau and a hellish fire, Shimon Feldstein, former percussionist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, becomes a stowaway on the SS Darien, one of the battered refugee ships. His wife, Leah, a talented cellist, undertakes a treacherous journey over the Alps to save herself and a little boy. But it seems all the harbors of the world are slammed shut against the Darien. Where can they find a place to call home?

ALSO INCLUDED: Study guides suitable for individual use or group discussion.

About the Author

BODIE AND BROCK THOENE (pronounced Tay-nee) have written over 45 works of historical fiction. That these best sellers have sold more than 10 million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards affirms what millions of readers have already discovered-the Thoenes are not only master stylists but experts at capturing readers' minds and hearts.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bodie and Brock Thoene have written a moving description of the pain and terror of the Nazi occupation of Vienna and their impending blitz of Prague. The characters have been fleshed out so well in the first two novels in the series, that I felt as if I was standing on the street watching it happen. For me that is the best. It does get a little slow in places. Mostly because you want to get to the next page and see what happened. They pull in characters from the past novels that you had forgotten about and continue their story and if you had never left them. Otto, a seemingly bitter Tyrolean, has joined the Nazi movement and has risen in the ranks. When his path crosses Elisa's again, the results are surprising. There are stories about Christians helping Jews, Jews escaping on a decrepit old ship and their courage in the face of ridicule and rejection from the human race. Then there is Murphy a journalist, who has seen it all, on a lone crusade. Fiction blends with life and reality with total disbelief at what the world knew and refused to deal with. Brock is a digger of facts and it is obvious in his wife's writing. I come away from every book in the series hungry for more and even more knowledgeable about our past and the possibility of our future. The team takes you to places you've heard about and wanted to visit. They turn you upside down and forever change how you see out world. I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to know the real of what our country, as well as the rest of the world did or didn't do for the people being massacred in Hitler's Reich.
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Format: Paperback
I had to read the first book in the series, Vienna Prelude, for a summer reading book for my school. I enjoyed the book so much that i have continued to read the rest of the series. This is one of those books that you really put your heart into, the authors did a very good job of getting the research, and then adding into the book their own insight. You come to love the characters, and when one is hurt, you feel the pain. In fact, on several occasions it has moved me to tears. You want to keep reading to find out what happens to the little coffin ship, The Darien, with all the Jewish refugees on it and nowhere to go. And all the other charecters you have came to love, you read further into, several of them surprising you with their actions. In a few places it does seem to get a little slow, but for the most part it is a deeply touching book.
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By A Customer on Dec 22 1998
Format: Paperback
I loved this book up until about page 225 when approx 30 pages (to 257) from the first book in series of Zion Covenant were in its place. I feel like I have missed several important events in this saga!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the history about the time around WW2.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b83784c) out of 5 stars 88 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b89e3e4) out of 5 stars WWII from the viewpoint of the Jewish community. Nov. 21 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Bodie and Brock Thoene have written a moving description of the pain and terror of the Nazi occupation of Vienna and their impending blitz of Prague. The characters have been fleshed out so well in the first two novels in the series, that I felt as if I was standing on the street watching it happen. For me that is the best. It does get a little slow in places. Mostly because you want to get to the next page and see what happened. They pull in characters from the past novels that you had forgotten about and continue their story and if you had never left them. Otto, a seemingly bitter Tyrolean, has joined the Nazi movement and has risen in the ranks. When his path crosses Elisa's again, the results are surprising. There are stories about Christians helping Jews, Jews escaping on a decrepit old ship and their courage in the face of ridicule and rejection from the human race. Then there is Murphy a journalist, who has seen it all, on a lone crusade. Fiction blends with life and reality with total disbelief at what the world knew and refused to deal with. Brock is a digger of facts and it is obvious in his wife's writing. I come away from every book in the series hungry for more and even more knowledgeable about our past and the possibility of our future. The team takes you to places you've heard about and wanted to visit. They turn you upside down and forever change how you see out world. I would suggest this book to anyone who wants to know the real of what our country, as well as the rest of the world did or didn't do for the people being massacred in Hitler's Reich.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b89e84c) out of 5 stars Another excellent installment in the "Zion Covenant" series Jan. 12 2009
By Nina M. Osier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
German-born violinist Elisa Linder (or Lindheim) and American journalist John Murphy have turned their marriage of convenience into a real union, at last. Elisa's family has found safe haven in Prague. Her close friend Leah Feldstein is on the way to Italy, via the dangerous passes from Austria, while Shimon Feldstein - Leah's husband - suffers as a slave laborer in a Nazi steel mill. Leah shepherds one of the five-year-old twin boys rescued from the Nazis in an earlier volume of this series. The other twin, Charles, travels with Elisa and her husband. The boys' parents have been murdered, and little Charles marked as a "mutant" unfit to live because of his harelip. Which a Jewish physician who has already fled Germany for New York City waits to repair, as soon as Elisa and Murphy bring the child to him. That's where this third installment of the Zion Covenant series begins. It ends with Britain's Prime Minister Chamberlain and other, like-minded government officials turning the Sudetenland over to Hitler without a fight, in order to achieve "peace in our time."

Munich Signature introduces a new and powerful character in Trudence "Bubbe" (Grandmother) Rosenfelt, a 78-year-old widow who married a Hamburg man and raised her family there. Her family in Hamburg now consists of a married granddaughter, that granddaughter's husband, and their five small daughters. Bubbe Rosenfelt will not use her U.S. citizenship to return home to Brooklyn, New York until she finds a way to get her loved ones out of Germany, and the roadblocks she encounters are only partly of German construction. American unwillingness to bend rigid quotas and other immigration rules proves far harder to overcome than Nazi unwillingness (real though it is) to let the Jews escape Hitler's plans for a final solution. There may be a way, though, Mrs. Rosenfelt learns when she persists in troubling a U.S. Embassy official. If she has enough money to pay outrageous fees for their passage, and if her family is willing to board a rusting, incredibly overcrowded freighter. Meanwhile, both the Gestapo and British Intelligence stalk Elisa, because the latter organization recognizes how useful this woman can be if compelled to serve as an operative.

Once again Bodie and Brock Thoene produce a fast-paced, emotionally stirring tale based solidly on real events. Their characters, while fictitious, feel just as real. I was particularly impressed in this book by John Murphy's gradual inner journey from cheerful disregard for the religion of his childhood to actively seeking God's help. While the book's text sometimes does lapse into preaching (which will please some readers while annoying others), there is nothing "preachy" about Murphy's transformation by God's grace. It happens naturally, in a fine example of how character development ought to be handled in any novel.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of HIGH PLACES and 2005 EPPIE winner REGS
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b89e870) out of 5 stars A descriptive, well thought out book. July 28 1999
By xbelle983@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had to read the first book in the series, Vienna Prelude, for a summer reading book for my school. I enjoyed the book so much that i have continued to read the rest of the series. This is one of those books that you really put your heart into, the authors did a very good job of getting the research, and then adding into the book their own insight. You come to love the characters, and when one is hurt, you feel the pain. In fact, on several occasions it has moved me to tears. You want to keep reading to find out what happens to the little coffin ship, The Darien, with all the Jewish refugees on it and nowhere to go. And all the other charecters you have came to love, you read further into, several of them surprising you with their actions. In a few places it does seem to get a little slow, but for the most part it is a deeply touching book.
HASH(0x9b89eb88) out of 5 stars Good history-driven story, but not quite as historically accurate as some think Feb. 17 2016
By Godly Gadfly - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While the previous volume (Prague Counterpoint) of the Zion Covenant series focuses on the Anschluss (annexation of Austria), this book (Munich Signature) focuses on the events leading up to the 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Western leaders conceded the Czech Sudetenland (largely inhabited by Germans) to Hitler in an effort to avoid war and avoid an invasion of the rest of Czechoslovakia. Although Shimon and Leah Feldstein play some role in the narrative, along with the two orphaned boys Louis and Charles, most of the action revolves around John and Elisa Murphy, by now familiar and beloved characters to readers of the series.

The story is a good read, and I appreciate how it is very history-driven, and gives good insights into the events of the time. One example is Hitler's fascination with the Franz von Stuck painting "The Wild Chase", which depicts the god Wotan, and has an uncanny likeness to Hitler. The book also details the plight of Jewish refugees who fled Germany by boat, leading to the failed Evian Conference. At times different names are used where the authors have taken some liberties with the historical facts, e.g. the SS Darien clearly refers to the SS St Louis, a ship with 908 Jewish refugees that was denied entry to Cuba and United States, although the St Louis wasn't a rust-bucket with horrible conditions like those described about the Darien in the book, but a luxury cruise liner with swimming pools, movies, and good food. A proposed plan by some in the German military to overthrow Hitler (because they believed going to war with Czechoslovakia was a suicidal military move) is also well featured in the story-line, even though it doesn't use the actual name of the key person behind the Oster Conspiracy of 1938.

But at times I couldn't help but wonder if the authors at times took too many liberties with the facts. For instance, does the mass conversion of 729 Jews to Christianity on one day (p.382) have any historical basis? In another example, the story describes a failed assassination attempt on the Czech President Benes which didn't actually happen. That I can live with - it's fiction after all - but a more serious issue is how the paganism of the Nazis is presented. While Nazi brutality is generally handled tactfully, at times the authors suggest a dark side that can't easily be corroborated with the historical record. For example, a state funeral given to a Nazi is described as follows: "in pagan ritual, his right arm was cut off, and at the hour of midnight, it was offered up to the German gods on a burning altar" (p159), but I've not been able to find any evidence of such things ever happening. In another instance, they describe young Nazis singing a song of praise to Hitler as an Aryan god (p296), but in actuality this particular song is from an Allied propaganda film (Prelude to War), and is based on a questionable source (Gregor Ziemer) rather than historical fact.

But it's not only the Nazis who aren't always depicted objectively. The authors are also very critical and even hostile towards British PM Chamberlain's policy of appeasement. In reality Chamberlain's critics were quite few, Churchill often being a lone voice in the pre-war period. At the time of the Munich Agreement Chamberlain was widely hailed as the "saviour of Europe", some European voices even suggesting he receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Egyptian PM sending him a telegram of thanks that read: "Your name will go down in history as a statesman who saved civilisation from destruction." From the perspective of hindsight it is easier to see how Chamberlain's policy failed, but it wasn't obvious to everyone at the time, and even some historians still defend his approach. It is important for readers to realize that like all historians, the Thoenes are subjective in their interpretation of history, and not all historians are as unsympathetic or sharply critical towards Chamberlain as they are. As such, it is a stretch to say that this novel is "historically accurate" - it not only takes some liberty with the facts, but also presents a very one-sided viewpoint of historical events, and it offers a perspective that not all historians would agree with. That being said, this won't be a big issue for most people, myself included, although the above examples do make it harder to trust the authors, because what many readers will take to be historical fact as presented in this book isn't always quite the case.

As for the rest of the novel, by and large the storyline is fairly compelling and makes for exciting reading. There are some implausible events (e.g. one of the main protagonists has a personal meeting with Churchill; and another protagonist is the unlikely survivor of an explosion and then goes on to be the only one who survives the sinking of a ship), but that's fiction for you - these things happen in books. Also be aware that there is some adult-only content; while it's not explicit, there are some descriptions of intimacy between a married couple that are only suitable for mature readers and not younger children.

Overall, "Munich Signature" is a great read that helps kindle an interest in this historical period. I look forward to reading the rest of the Zion Covenant series, and I commend the authors for contributing some great and thoughtful fiction that helps bring to life an important part of history that we should not forget. - GODLY GADFLY (February 2016)
HASH(0x9b89ecb4) out of 5 stars Love this book and the entire series! March 8 2010
By The Write Edge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I absolutely love this book and the entire series! Brock and Bodie Thoene bring the perils of World War II to life. They have given us individual names and faces to the horror that thousands faced as they were persecuted by Hitler and his henchmen for a myriad of reasons. I started reading this series in junior high and even now (almost 20 years later) I'm still having trouble turning off my light at night because I'm so engrossed in the story!

This book in particular radiates the message that the power of music can, indeed, carry us through the worst of times. It's tragic and heartbreaking yet makes us want to cheer all at the same time. I'm reading this one right now, and even though I already know what's going to happen I'm still waiting eagerly to go through it all again with the main characters.


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