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By Rennie Airth

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Despite the years of prosperity, his family had not forgotten their past. Dealers in furs for generations, the Sobels had fled the Pale of Settlement before the turn of the century, leaving behind them the bloody pogroms that had racked the western borders of the Tsar’s empire. How many times, Maurice wondered, had he heard his grandfather, dead now these twenty years, tell of the night he had seen his parents’ neighbour, a watchmaker, beaten to death in the street before a watching crowd while their own house went up in flames?

He lives in Italy. A. , 2009. Simultaneously published in the United States by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (WEB) Copyright © Rennie Airth, 2009 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

He bowed and left the room. Maurice had wasted no time. Uncomfortable though the transaction made him feel, he had taken a decision and meant to stick to it. With the start of the war, the movement of funds by more orthodox means had become increasingly difficult and the German invasion had brought even those to a halt. True, in the past few months he had managed to shift a good portion of his assets abroad, but he was reluctant to leave anything he possessed to the new masters of Europe, these brutal despoilers of his people.

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