My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In 1997 a journal is found in an all weather shelter in Antarctica. Travelling back to England the finder reads an extraordinary story of depravation, war, survival and the thirst for revenge. It is the autobiography of Derek Jacobs, who as a child was an inmate of the Nazi concentration camps where he saw his mother horrifically abused, particularly by one man. Unlike his mother, he survives the camps and the death march to be brought up in Canada. There, as a young man forging a career in the environment movement, he comes across the same man. The meeting unblocks the suppressed memories of his childhood and Derek savours the heady flavour of revenge. He is co-opted by 'The Secret Hunters' and with dogged patience they track their prey through a web of intermediaries, discovering that he and his cohorts believe they can re-establish the fascist state. On a secret mission to mine valuable minerals in the Antarctic Derek confronts him. The result is deadly - but for which man?
Is it fact or is it fiction? A very good question.
This book leaves you wondering if it really is a true story. Basically it's a story based on a journal found in an abandoned Antarctic hut.
It is the journal of a 55-year-old Jewish Canadian of German descent named Derek Jacobs who had been stranded at the hut in the early 1990s. The journal proved to be Jacobs' account of his life, from the death march of wartime Germany to the advance of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in 1974 to the Arctic, where Jacobs had come as a member of the Secret Hunters, an organization devoted to seeking out Nazi war criminals.
The story is fantastic and I found that I liked to assume that it was true. It's been called fiction by the author due to "several uncheckable facts that forced the decision to label the book as fiction rather than non-fiction".
Nonetheless, a very interesting story about a man who gets put through the meat grinder a number of times.
I'd love to meet Derek Jacobs...if he really exists at all.
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