Sign of the Aleph
Join novelist Lori Hyland as she explores the twists and turns of wartime Berlin and occupied Paris.
Working with a cast of characters not seen since Casablanca graced the silver screen, Lori provides an in-depth view of love, hope, anguish, corruption, theft, and revenge rarely seen in such a well-written historical novel.
Lori builds her world of gripping intrigue around Arlette, a young Jewish woman who loses her family to France’s Nazi occupiers. Seeking revenge, Arlette adopts a Christian identity that plays upon her Aryan looks and becomes a delivery girl for the Jeu De Palme art gallery; ground zero for artwork being stolen for Hitler’s museum and the personal collections of Hermann Göring and other high-ranking officers.
Working for Curator Rose Valland as she secretly documents thousands of pilfered art masterpieces, Arlette is entrusted with hand-delivering expensive paintings to elite Nazi officers and exclusive art dealers.
Steely, street smart, and adept at playing the sycophant, Arlette escapes an attempted rape by killing a high-ranking member of the Gestapo at his luxurious apartment, the personal remains of his victims clearly in sight.
From that moment on she acquires a lust for revenge, seeking high-ranking army and SS officers who frequent the decadent underbelly of Parisian night clubs, killing them, and carving the sign of the Aleph (from the Hebrew alphabet) into their foreheads.
Sign of the Aleph reeks of authenticity, weaving in details one would have legitimately seen in 1943 Paris, including stories about:
• Georg, an SS officer who falls in love with Arlette;
• Frederick, the orphaned deaf boy who befriends Arlette and who takes refuge in the underground catacombs of Paris;
• Tourette, a French police inspector who solves the killer’s identity;
• Madame Jamette, owner of Paris’ classiest, most respected brothel. Unquestionably one of the most heroic and bravest characters a reader is sure to encounter for quite some time, Jamette prides herself on giving her “girls” a say in their own destinies;
• The role the glamourous Ritz Hotel played at the center of the Occupation;
• The integral part Hollywood played in helping the Nazis…and how the story played out on the streets of New York.
Sign of the Aleph carefully portrays the results visited upon a society overtaken by dubious ethics, single-minded methodologies, and an ability to run roughshod over the needs and interests of anyone not in power.
From the decay of the ancient catacombs to the corrupt priest entertaining senior Nazi officers with decadent bacchanals at the alter at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat from first page to last.
Join Lori Hyland as she explores the human impact and irony of the lowest and highest forms of survival and betrayal in occupied Paris. And see how a few fearless souls use their professions and relationships to fight for art and freedom.
It’s a story as relevant today as when it happened.