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The Seventh Gate
17-10-2010

In the preface to his internationally bestselling novel, The Last Kabbalist ofLisbon, Richard Zimler told how he discovered seven 16th-Century manuscripts in an Istanbul cellar written by a kabbalist named Berekiah Zarco. One of themdescribed the Lisbon pogrom of 1506, and Zimler’s re-working of the narrative became The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon. But what did the other six reveal?

In 1930s Berlin, Berekiah’s descendant Isaac Zarco is determined to find out. Hebecomes convinced by the pact between Hitler and Stalin – and other “signs” – that anapocalyptic prophecy made by his ancestor is about to come terrible true. Is he mad tobelieve that by decoding those medieval kabbalistic texts he might save the world?

Set during Hitler’s rise to power and the Nazi war against the disabled, The Seventh Gate brings together Sophie Riedesel, a witty, artistic and sexually adventurous fourteen-year-old, with an underground group of Jewish activists and ex-circus misfits led by Isaac Zarco. When a series of forced sterilizations, perplexing murders and deportations to concentration camps decimates the group, Sophie, how reaching adulthood, must fight with all her ingenuity to save all that she loves about Germany – at any cost.

In its beautifully shaped portraits and its chilling but sensuous evocation of Berlin, The Seventh Gate is at one and the same time a love story and tragedy – and a tale of ferocious heroism.


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