A dazzling and finely paced saga mystery based on true events in the midst of the digital shake-up in the book publishing industry.
The story takes place around 2010 and against the background of the medieval city of Wiesbaden in Germany, with touches of London, New York and Paris.
The ageing owner of a family-owned book publisher, Johannes Prittmann, is a prominent businessman in the European book world but has, in recent years, ignored the warnings and the darkening clouds in publishing around him. Now, he sees his lifework crumbling as the technical innovations caused by rampant digitisation sweep over the publishing industry like a tornado. He must modernise and adapt. But he is terminally ill and his days are numbered.
A secretive man by nature, Prittmann, after his death, leaves only chaos behind, much to the surprise of his family who, like outsiders, knew nothing of the true situation of the family’s finances. Shortly before his death, Prittmann, true to his nature and without consulting his family, places the management of his ailing business in the hands of his eldest son, Tom, who had forsaken his inheritance some ten years previously to go his own way and is now living in Cape Town, South Africa.
Tom arranges to take a Sabbath from his job to help rescue the struggling family from loss of livelihood and heritage but his surprise appearance in the midst of the family causes bad blood and unrest. Worse, he finds himself confronted with challenges and problems he could never have foreseen – a nightmare of deceit and conspiracy, of enmity and greed. And a conflict with his widowed mother who seems ready to sacrifice her husband’s lifework for the sake of her younger son’s career while concealing secrets of her own.
With empathy, energy and candour, Tom endeavours to deal with the problems facing him and carry out his promise to his dying father but soon discovers that, besides being faced with hostility and turmoil from within the familial bounds, a greater menace threatens from without.
While fulfilling his father’s dying wish, Tom’s year in Wiesbaden will become one of crisis and profound change. And not only for him personally.
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