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A Thread of Grace

by Mary Doria Russell

'No matter how dark the tapestry God weaves for us, there's always a thread of grace', is an old Hebrew saying quoted in this nailbiting story of Italy in the final months of WWII. Frankly I cared SO much about the cast of Jews, Catholics, peasants and even fascisti and the moral dilemmas as well as the violent dangers that they faced that I often lost sight of the alleged thread! In fact sometimes only the constant black humour nerved me to go on. A great read but definitely not a comfortable one.

Extract

'Torture,' PierCarlo says to himself. 'From the Latin torquere, to twist.'
He watches, patient, emotionless. Soon the body's need for breath wins its battle against gravity, and the screaming can begin. When the shrieks subside to a high, thin whine like a piglet's squeal, PierCarlo begins to chant in the singsong voice of an adult wheedling cooperation from a reluctant child. 'No-one can hear me but you. Nobody knows where you are,' he croons softly, 'Give me what I want, naughty worm, or I'll never let you go.'

Parallels

Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
Rome: Open City - the film
Whirlpool by Douglas Scott
 

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