The End of Law
A powerful story set in Berlin, in the 1930s and early 1940s, and woven around the fortunes of three people; an ambitious SS Officer, Walter Gunter, his naïve wife, Hedda, and a guilt-ridden SS Officer, Karl Muller. Gunter is intensely loyal to the Third Reich, entirely ruthless, and dreams of military renown, so is outraged to be placed in charge of the T4 euthanasia programme. Muller, an engineer and trainee doctor, reluctantly oversees the safe delivery of lethal gases and drugs to the killing centres, and is required to convert shower rooms and bathrooms to gas chambers in commandeered hospitals and prisons. The End of Law focuses on the difficult moral choices made by soldiers and civilians under a corrupt regime, and on the disruptive power of an awakened conscience.

The End of Law Details

TitleThe End of Law
Author
ReleaseJan 15th, 2016
PublisherLion Fiction
ISBN-139781782641902
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, War, World War II, Holocaust, Fiction, History, European History

The End of Law Review

  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    With so many WWII novels to choose from, I almost did not pick this one up. I am glad that I did. By focusing on characters who are modeled on actual participants in the German T4 program, the author manages a new point of view on an era that has had much written about it.Our initial view of Hedda is one of a spoiled and vapid woman, and it is difficult to imagine her becoming involved in any worthwhile cause. She marries Walter, who is just as shallow but with a cruel streak. Karl i With so many WWII novels to choose from, I almost did not pick this one up. I am glad that I did. By focusing on characters who are modeled on actual participants in the German T4 program, the author manages a new point of view on an era that has had much written about it.Our initial view of Hedda is one of a spoiled and vapid woman, and it is difficult to imagine her becoming involved in any worthwhile cause. She marries Walter, who is just as shallow but with a cruel streak. Karl is our guy to root for from the beginning, though even he finds himself wrapped up in atrocities that eventually overwhelm him.The secret program that each character finds themselves involved in is Hitler's goal to obliterate "unworthies." The focus is not upon the extermination of the Jews, though there are some scenes of their persecution. Instead, we see how the German leaders tore children from their parents and wives from their husbands because they were mentally ill or physically disabled. "Transferred for special care," these family members would never be seen again.Could a man sign the order for his own child's death or give over his wife to Nazi psychiatrists? You'd be surprised what Nazi brainwashing convinced people to do.This is also a story of those who did not give in to this insanity. Some people stood up and refused to follow orders to kill children, or destroyed shipments of drugs intended to cause their deaths, or gave up their own lives rather than participating in taking that of others. That is at the center of this story and a question that many of us have probably asked ourselves as we learn about WWII. How could so many people get caught up in this or step back as they watched it happen? Why did so few come forward and defend their friends, neighbors, and countrymen?But some did, regardless of the cost. They weren't all saints, and some of them had to hit rock bottom before they realized they could not perpetuate the Nazi system any longer. Even those who saved one had to watch hundreds more go to their deaths. This book tells that story of imperfect people attempting to make their way in a world gone mad.I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Cold War Conversations Podcast
    January 1, 1970
    A powerful novel of moral choices in the Third ReichThe book revolves around the relationship of three people: Walter Gunter, a classic violent and sadistic SS Officer ; his wife, Hedda who is naive at first, but grows stronger as the book progresses; and conscience stricken SS officer, Karl Muller. The Muller character is a fascinating one , an engineer and trainee doctor he is also part of T4, an SS managed program of euthanasia for the mentally ill and disabled. From a catholic upbringing A powerful novel of moral choices in the Third ReichThe book revolves around the relationship of three people: Walter Gunter, a classic violent and sadistic SS Officer ; his wife, Hedda who is naive at first, but grows stronger as the book progresses; and conscience stricken SS officer, Karl Muller. The Muller character is a fascinating one , an engineer and trainee doctor he is also part of T4, an SS managed program of euthanasia for the mentally ill and disabled. From a catholic upbringing he is repulsed by his work and decides to disrupt the program.The character Muller is based on Kurt Gerstein a German SS officer who gave information to the Swedish diplomats as well as to members of the Roman Catholic Church with contacts to the Pope in an effort to inform the international public about the Holocaust. The novel itself did seem slightly overlong, but did describe the moral dilemmas of cooperation and resistance to the Nazis effectively and powerfully through its characters. The tension builds well in the last third with the lead female character’s realisation of the complicity of her wider family in the T4 program.It wasn’t until I reached the end of the book that I found out it was based on real people. Indeed I had initially thought the storyline a little far-fetched, however the end notes are particularly useful giving context and background to the non-military German resistance to the Nazis which are often overshadowed by the Stauffenberg Hitler assassination plot. A powerful and well written novel.I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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  • Maureen Timerman
    January 1, 1970
    The End of Law is not for the faint hearted, it is not a happily ever after, and there is no one riding off into the sunset. It is a true story with fictional characters, and the worse part of the story is that it is real and did happen.The horrors that happened in Hitler’s Germany are beyond reason, and yet people followed merrily along, and for what? The “Jew problem”, and then it went from there to gypsies, homosexuals, imperfect children, mentally ill individuals, and they were headed The End of Law is not for the faint hearted, it is not a happily ever after, and there is no one riding off into the sunset. It is a true story with fictional characters, and the worse part of the story is that it is real and did happen.The horrors that happened in Hitler’s Germany are beyond reason, and yet people followed merrily along, and for what? The “Jew problem”, and then it went from there to gypsies, homosexuals, imperfect children, mentally ill individuals, and they were headed for everyone but the pure Aryan, if there was such an individual. We have names and word pictures of what these characters looked like, and Satan must have been smiling on the atrocities that were committed here. Hedda Schroeder grew up wanting for nothing, her father was a famous German chemist. She ends up marrying Walter Gunther, who ends up high in the Nazi SS, and the one who picks who lives and who dies.Can you imagine such work, you chose which child shall not see tomorrow, and in the end no one is safe from the evil perpetrated under this regime. Maybe this should be a must read in school, as there are people out there that don’t believe any of this ever happened. Once I started reading I had to keep on, even though you might want to have tissues or a bag for nausea, the things you are about to read about are horrendous and never should have happened.Bringing this story to light, the author did an amazing job, and can’t imagine it was easy to do.I received this book through Kregel’s Blogger Program, and was not required to give a positive review.
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  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    Be prepared. This is a well written book but the subject matter is very difficult. Down has given us an unnerving novel of Hitler's Germany.The characters are portrayed very well. Walter is a high official in Hitler's army and is involved with exterminations. His character is developed so well, he almost made me sick. His part in the novel really showed what happens to a man when he is devoted to his leader at the expense of his own family.The reality this novel portrayed Be prepared. This is a well written book but the subject matter is very difficult. Down has given us an unnerving novel of Hitler's Germany.The characters are portrayed very well. Walter is a high official in Hitler's army and is involved with exterminations. His character is developed so well, he almost made me sick. His part in the novel really showed what happens to a man when he is devoted to his leader at the expense of his own family.The reality this novel portrayed is shocking. It was hard to read about the systematic poisoning of handicapped and “genetically impure.” I had no idea that sick children and psychiatric patients were also exterminated. The Child Euthanasia Program dealt with children diagnosed as unworthy of life.It was hard to stomach the top secret meetings where extermination programs were talked about calmly by German officials. The descriptions of the mistreatment of prisoners was hard to read, as was the account of the work in the crematorium.It was a time when those opposing the actions of the Nazis did not know who to trust. Yet there were valiant attempts by some. Others tried to get the news of what was really happening in Germany out to other nations. In a Historical Epilogue, Down shares some of the work done by religious leaders and other Christians. Many died for their humane efforts.I hadn't been aware of the plight of women under Hitler. One character in the novel had a wife who had been a brilliant lawyer. But when Hitler was elected, “no women were allowed to practice law – or teach or work at all, really.” (61)I highly recommend this novel. It is a graphic exploration of how people deal with progressing evil. Some hardened their hearts and went along with it. Others fought with all they had. Although there is no discussion guide included with this book, there would be much to discuss. This novel is not a light hearted one nor would I call it entertaining. It is the kind of novel we need to read from time to time to remind ourselves of the reality of evil.I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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  • Victor Gentile
    January 1, 1970
    Therese Down in her new book, “The End Of Law” published by Lion Fiction gives us A Novel of Hitler’s Germany.From the back cover: Berlin, 1933: as Hitler rises to power; the law–designed to protect and serve–becomes twisted to the will of those who dream of a pure Aryan race.SS Officer Walter Gunther is intensely loyal to the Third Reich. His readiness to kill without question or remorse would seem to make him the ideal candidate to lead the T4 euthanasia programme. SS o Therese Down in her new book, “The End Of Law” published by Lion Fiction gives us A Novel of Hitler’s Germany.From the back cover: Berlin, 1933: as Hitler rises to power; the law–designed to protect and serve–becomes twisted to the will of those who dream of a pure Aryan race.SS Officer Walter Gunther is intensely loyal to the Third Reich. His readiness to kill without question or remorse would seem to make him the ideal candidate to lead the T4 euthanasia programme. SS officer Karl Muller, a trainee doctor and engineer, is also brought into the programme, and assured that his work is consistent with the Hippocratic oath he’s due to take.Their mandate: to kill the “unworthies”–not just the Jews, but crippled children, the mentally ill, homosexuals. Hedda, Walter’s wife and old acquaintance of Karl, has no idea of what their work entails. Until, that is, the fate of their families is at stake, and each must confront afresh the choices they have made.This dark, tense novel is a compelling story of human tragedy, and man’s potential to revel in, or fight against, the evil actions of a corrupted nation.Let me start out by stating that this is a terrific story. It is everything that it could be all rolled up into one terrific package. It is a World War II thriller. It is a story that shows us the depths that a human soul can sink to but it also shows us the heights that the human soul can rise to. Ms. Down has given us a historical fiction which means that the events actually happened it is just that she has fictionalized them. Ms. Down has given us marvelous, well-written characters that you will get involved with, both the good ones and, equally, the bad. This story will have you flipping pages as fast as you can read them. I believe you are going to enjoy this book and our heroine and that you are not going to want to put it down until you have finished it! It is just that good. I am already looking forward to more from this highly talented author.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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  • Whispering Stories
    January 1, 1970
    The End of Law is about WWII, though unlike other books about this devastating period in history, this book focuses on the lives of three individuals and their role in the war.SS Officer Walter Gunter is a brutal, bloodthirsty man. He has no quarms about follwowing orders to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children, as ordered by Hitler.His wife Hedda is a gullible woman, who is blind to the disgusting actions of her husband. They don’t have a happy The End of Law is about WWII, though unlike other books about this devastating period in history, this book focuses on the lives of three individuals and their role in the war.SS Officer Walter Gunter is a brutal, bloodthirsty man. He has no quarms about follwowing orders to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children, as ordered by Hitler.His wife Hedda is a gullible woman, who is blind to the disgusting actions of her husband. They don’t have a happy marriage, as Walter is not only a brutal man to the people, but to his wife too.I was surprised that a woman who seemed to be as clever and articulated as Hedda could be blind to her husbands actions. How you wouldn’t be able to notice that your husband is capable of murder is beyond me.Officer Karl Muller is a a trainee doctor and engineer. His role is in the euthanasia program, killing the disabled and mentally ill people in the T4 program to rid the world of the ‘unworthy’. The Holocaust. He doesn’t like being part of the program and is repulsed enough to try to end it by letting the world know what is really going on in his country.The book is quite hard to swallow and does delve deep into some of the terrible events that took place. If you are easily upset, then you might want to give this book a miss.Yes it is a fictional story, but there is a lot of truth in it about what happened in Nazi Germany. It will open your eyes to the atrocities that took place. You may have heard about them, but this book delves deeper and will have you reeling in horror at some of the information.I was happy to see towards the end that Hedda finally had her eyes opened to the monster that her husband really was, and grew from a feeble woman into a headstrong woman.A hard-hitting novel, that I’m sure must have been hard, yet fulfilling for Ms. Down to write.Reviewed by Stacey at www.whisperingstories.com
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  • Amanda Stephan
    January 1, 1970
    I've always been interested in this particular time period. How an entire country could condone the genocide of a race of people is disturbing, to put it mildly. But, taking instances out of our own generation that people wouldn't have even dreamed of allowing to happen ten years ago, things become a little clearer. Therese Downs' book is an excellent look at the struggles of ordinary people. Some were called upon to serve their country - albeit wrongly - they answered that call. Honestly I've always been interested in this particular time period. How an entire country could condone the genocide of a race of people is disturbing, to put it mildly. But, taking instances out of our own generation that people wouldn't have even dreamed of allowing to happen ten years ago, things become a little clearer. Therese Downs' book is an excellent look at the struggles of ordinary people. Some were called upon to serve their country - albeit wrongly - they answered that call. Honestly, what would you do if that call had come to you? If your country was wrongly imprisoning, torturing and murdering people that spoke out against an out of control regime, would you be numbered among their victims? Or would you be among the silent masses who knew the government was wrong but was afraid-or worse-unwilling to do anything about it?I wondered if there were people in Germany at that time who were against this killing, lawless machine, and I was very glad to read there were. The author's research definitely shows in these pages. I did my own research on some of the things in this book to see if it was factual and was surprised to see that they were. I wish I could tell you which things I'm referring to, but I don't want to give away spoilers. In all, this book is very good. There is some swearing and some 'things' are alluded to, but I felt they were presented correctly. Definitely not for younger readers.
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    This has been by far the hardest book I have ever read...I thought long and hard how I could write a review on such a horrific and heartbreaking subject and I just can’t , there are no words just sadness. It deserves all the praise I can give and far far more than a mere 5 stars and all credit to Therese Down for such writing. It’s a book that should be read, it’s a book that will break your heart as it did mine ... please let this never happen again.
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  • Lisa London
    January 1, 1970
    Could not put this one down. I so wanted not to continue reading about the horrible processes of killing the "unworthies", but I couldn't. The writing is excellent and the story keeps you riveted. I'll be looking for Ms. Down's other books now.I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Christopher Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Plodding and sometimes factually wrong. I struggled getting to page 104 where the author confused carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, a key point, after which I lost confidence in her and gave up. A dismal read.
  • Rich
    January 1, 1970
    This book was not bad, I never knew the Reich ordered there own German ppl that were seriously ill or an invalid condemned to death, towards the end of book the las 60 pages was really interesting
  • Rochelle
    January 1, 1970
    This book was very hard to read and its not a teen read.
  • Ray
    January 1, 1970
    WW II is a favorite subject and I really want to like this book. Unfortunately, I just could not read it. It leaned too far to the feminine side for my grumpy old man taste.
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book, it was dark and intense but well written. It had all my emotions going and I nearly cry.
  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    Source: Free paperback copy from Kregel in exchange for a reviewRating: 5 stars for excellentSummary:1933, Germany.When the story begins, Hedda Schroeder, age 20, is a glamorous woman who is interested in a social life, and parties held in "smoky clubs." Her parents are Ernst and Mathilde Schroeder. Her father is a well-known German Chemist. Hedda began dating Walter Gunther, "a General Staff Officer, serving under Chief of Staff Officer Ludwig Beck." He is "on occasional Source: Free paperback copy from Kregel in exchange for a reviewRating: 5 stars for excellentSummary:1933, Germany.When the story begins, Hedda Schroeder, age 20, is a glamorous woman who is interested in a social life, and parties held in "smoky clubs." Her parents are Ernst and Mathilde Schroeder. Her father is a well-known German Chemist. Hedda began dating Walter Gunther, "a General Staff Officer, serving under Chief of Staff Officer Ludwig Beck." He is "on occasional social terms with Goering." Walter and Hedda marry. Walter believes their marriage will help his career and standing with the party. They have two children, Agnette and Anselm. As the story progresses, Walter's demeanor and mental instability spirals downward into an abyss of hatred, bitterness, hostility, and murderous rampage. On the other hand, Hedda, who at one time cared for parties and dates, and cast a blind eye to the Nazi Party, becomes a depressed and fearful wife and mother. Walter is involved in the T4 Euthanasia Program. The program affects personally the family of Walter and Hedda.My Thoughts:I've read a long list of books on World War II and the Holocaust. This is the first book I've read on the T4 Euthanasia Program. To state this is a difficult book to read is an understatement. However, the historical fiction story must be told to share the horrors of what other humans did to their own, in hopes this will never happen again.Several reasons led me to award The End of Law 5 stars for excellent.External and internal conflicts. The Holocaust, war, and the Nazi killing machine are the external conflicts. The internal conflicts are the victims, and the people who defy the Nazi's murderous pogrom.A story of domestic violence. Its affects on the abused adult and on the children. It also shows the abuser's need to control and dominate. The End of Law is an education on domestic violence. Some readers may find this subject to be unpleasant and will not read a story with this type of element. I am a victim of domestic violence and feel the subject should be talked about and it should be given attention, which will lead to educating people in hopes of saving a life. Development of characters. Hedda has a remarkable transformation. Her moment of change came when she became a mother. I saw throughout the story a continuing rise in her development. The effects on the people who worked in the T4 Euthanasia Program. From those who created the chemicals, to those who gave orders, to those who carried out the administrations, and to those who were affected by the fatal dose. The story is intense, but there are moments of tenderness and love. The End of Law is the story of sacrificial love. The quote below gives an example of symbolism. The descriptions show Walter's demeanor, but it also shows the lack of intimacy in the marriage and home.Walter felt love for no one. He was permanently angry, resentful or disgusted. If he allowed any softer sentiment to colour his thoughts it was self-pity. As for Hedda, he loathed her. Loathed her tired, permanently sad, mooning face; loathed the insolent reproach of her sidelong, glances as he passed her in rooms they couldn't bear to share.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    I was first introduced to the Holocaust as a ten-year-old when I was given a comic book version of The Hiding Place. Fascinated by the story of Corrie Ten Boom, I had both read the full version of The Hiding Place and seen the movie within a few years of that introduction. As a teenager and adult, I went on to read other biographical and fiction narratives of World War II events, but all of them were from the perspective of the “good guys.” I read stories from the Warsaw ghetto, tales of many (G I was first introduced to the Holocaust as a ten-year-old when I was given a comic book version of The Hiding Place. Fascinated by the story of Corrie Ten Boom, I had both read the full version of The Hiding Place and seen the movie within a few years of that introduction. As a teenager and adult, I went on to read other biographical and fiction narratives of World War II events, but all of them were from the perspective of the “good guys.” I read stories from the Warsaw ghetto, tales of many (Germans included) who helped fight against the Nazi regime from within and without, and narratives of both survivors and victims. Only occasionally did I truly delve into the darkness that was the Nazi regime itself.That darkness, however, comprises the full scope of my most recent review novel, The End of Law. Written by Therese Down, this intense novel does not read like a work of fiction. Instead, it feels more like what a stenographer would produce when trying to incorporate real-life stories into her reproduction of notes from top-secret meetings. I do not say that as a negative assessment of The End of Law. In fact, I believe that presentation, while not as engaging as a more dramatic novel, made this story bearable from an emotional perspective. The End of Law reflects the pure evil behind the Nazi exploration for increasingly effective and efficient methods of mass extermination. It is hard to recommend that anyone read such darkness. Yet, we need the reminder that history repeats itself. This book clearly demonstrates how quickly a disregard for human life descends into pure horror. And the sad truth is that our own nation is one in which human life is not honored. While the “Judische problem” is mentioned in The End of Law, the story actually focuses more on the elimination of other undesirables, especially terminally ill or impaired children. The Nazis were intent on ridding their society of these “drains” upon their resources, as well as those who marred the purity of the Aryan race. Yet, they knew that the ordinary citizen would not understand the need for extermination of innocent children, regardless their handicaps. Secret meetings of top-level Nazi party members sealed the fate of hundreds of children, quietly murdered by those who were supposed to be offering them care and treatment. This is the world explored by Therese Down in The End of Law. This is the horror captured within these pages. A dark, hard reality that we hate to delve into yet cannot afford to ignore. This evil exists. So, do I recommend The End of Law? As hard as it may be to read, yes, I do recommend it. Fiction though it may be, it paints a real picture and stands as a reminder to us that man is capable of pure evil - and a reminder of what we will face if we choose to stand against it.
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  • Lisa Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Title: The End of LawAuthor: Therese DownPages: 320Year: 2016Publisher: Lion PublicationsMy rating is 4 stars.Hitler was a lost person in more ways than one along with the many men who followed his orders without question or conviction. The author points though to the youth who at the cost of their own lives spoke truth to their countrymen, reminding them of who the German people really were and should rise up to be again.Many novels and nonfiction books Title: The End of LawAuthor: Therese DownPages: 320Year: 2016Publisher: Lion PublicationsMy rating is 4 stars.Hitler was a lost person in more ways than one along with the many men who followed his orders without question or conviction. The author points though to the youth who at the cost of their own lives spoke truth to their countrymen, reminding them of who the German people really were and should rise up to be again.Many novels and nonfiction books remind us, teach us and make us aware of what happened when evil went unchecked in a nation. The author really writes a heart-gripping tale of how life changed for one German family when the husband, father and man chose to seek accolades from a mad man in power. In the book, you will also read of the way it affected the character to do Hitler’s selective killing. There is some detail in the book, but mainly it is a tale of the people who decided to stand up and then kneel down before God, making others aware of the atrocities being committed against the defenseless.Included in the book is what the cost was to the wife, daughter and son of a man who sought to have more power and higher rank in the SS. While he could live his life the way he chose, this made the character want to exert abusive power in his own home. While one SS man sought power from Hitler another SS officer turned to God. He cannot live with the nightmares he suffers or the work he has done with the destruction of life and ultimately his soul.The foul language in the book is used by the one male character who believes there is no God, only the Reich. However, it wasn’t necessary to use God’s name in vain in the novel as readers are aware of how the godless speak to and of God. Those who resisted and called on others to resist Hitler and the Reich were killed in the early 20s. I am humbled by their courage even decades after their sacrifice.As soon as one starts reading, the reader will quickly lose themselves in a period of history that defies description. However one aspect I learned about was of those who died courageously because they stood up to stop the spread of evil in the day. What a reminder to be courageous and instead of ignoring evil, speak up, out and against that which God calls evil even when the cost is life!Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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  • Meagan Myhren-bennett
    January 1, 1970
    The End of LawA Novel of Hitler's GermanyBy Thérèse DownThe purity of the nation must be protected at any cost and those who could possible weaken the nation's might must be purged from existence. But when the next weakest link could be your own flesh and blood what will you decide?In 1933, Hedda Schroeder becomes acquainted with two SS officers, one of whom she marries. Walter Gunther is driven to achieve honor in the name of German achievement and supremacy. The End of LawA Novel of Hitler's GermanyBy Thérèse DownThe purity of the nation must be protected at any cost and those who could possible weaken the nation's might must be purged from existence. But when the next weakest link could be your own flesh and blood what will you decide?In 1933, Hedda Schroeder becomes acquainted with two SS officers, one of whom she marries. Walter Gunther is driven to achieve honor in the name of German achievement and supremacy. She didn't know who she was marrying but she is about to find out.In 1941, Germany's T4 euthanasia programme is a celebrated success - a success that the average citizen knows nothing about. Working behind the scenes on this project are Hedda's father Ernst Schroeder, her husband Walter, and Karl Muller a man she once knew. But when the T4 programme threatens their own families these men must decide where they will ultimately place their loyalties. Is it with the Fuhrer and the Nazi party? With their own family? Or with God? These decisions could very well decide not only the future of the German people but their very souls.In the quest for dominance many ceded logic, reason, and sanity to the insanity of Nazi despotism. It is interesting to read some of the changes that Germany underwent under Hitler. One was that women who were professionals were no longer allowed to work - the highest honor a woman could now hold within Germany was that bearing the next generation of Aryan purity. I also found the references to rewriting the Bible to remove Jewish references interesting. There are some rather disturbing scenes in regard to the T4 programme in this book. The cruelty of the human race against those it has classified as unworthy was and is shocking. This book though dark is well written and engaging as one watches the various characters as they face evil and either confront or embrace it.This would be an excellent choice for a high school historical fiction book report title. Those who are fascinated by World War II history will find this an intriguing book with the majority of it taking place in 1941, with a brief stage setting in 1933. This is not a feel good book, though there are moments when one feels triumph at a small victory.I was provided a copy of this book through the Kregel Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Tamara Tilley
    January 1, 1970
    THE END OF LAW was a chilling book that graphically described the lengths to which Hitler, and his officers, went in order to rid the world of those he deemed unworthy.SS Officer Walter Gunther proves his loyalty over and over again to the ideologies of the Third Reich. This gets him notice, and he quickly advances in Hitler’s army. Because he kills without remorse, Gunther is the perfect choice to lead the T4 program. This program is set up not only to rid the world of the hated Jew THE END OF LAW was a chilling book that graphically described the lengths to which Hitler, and his officers, went in order to rid the world of those he deemed unworthy.SS Officer Walter Gunther proves his loyalty over and over again to the ideologies of the Third Reich. This gets him notice, and he quickly advances in Hitler’s army. Because he kills without remorse, Gunther is the perfect choice to lead the T4 program. This program is set up not only to rid the world of the hated Jews, but also the mentally ill, homosexuals, even children with disabilities and health deficiencies.Hedda Gunther struggles in an unhappy marriage. When her husband becomes abusive, and emotionally distant, Hedda turns her energies to her children. With a head-in-the-sand personality, Hedda doesn’t give much thought to the war or the growing rumors of what is really going on. That is, until it affects her child. Through a turn of events, Hedda realizes the horrors that are being executed in the name of war, and the many people close to her who are actively involved in these tragedies.SS Officer Karl Muller doesn’t like the part he plays in the euthanasia programs of the Third Reich, but doesn’t have much of a choice. He does what he’s directed to do and tries to distance himself emotionally. However, when his wife’s mental condition makes her a candidate for the T4 program, Karl does everything in his power to save her, even if it means being arrested and put to death for treason.THE END OF LAW follows these three people as they come to grips with the choices they have made in life. Walter is a horrible, unconscionable man who only cares about his career. Hedda starts off as bland and one-dimensional, but turns into a warrior for her daughter. Karl has his eyes opened to the atrocities being committed, and his part in it. He races against time to save not only his wife, but a child before either of them can me exterminated.This book was difficult to read. Knowing it is based on the truth of Hitler’s assault on humanity, you just can’t put it down and forget what you’ve read. Therese Down was very blunt and unfiltered in her retelling of the most horrific time in world history. Book provided for review purposes.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Being a history buff, I was really interested in this book the first time I saw it. Especially since it revolves around the WWII era, Hitler, Germany and the happenings there. I found it especially intriguing. It begins a bit before the war is in full swing with Hedda, a very worldly inexperienced young woman. She marries well, mostly for wealth and position. But soon her life takes a dreadful turn as the war becomes more progressed and her husband more involved with Hitlers regime and his horri Being a history buff, I was really interested in this book the first time I saw it. Especially since it revolves around the WWII era, Hitler, Germany and the happenings there. I found it especially intriguing. It begins a bit before the war is in full swing with Hedda, a very worldly inexperienced young woman. She marries well, mostly for wealth and position. But soon her life takes a dreadful turn as the war becomes more progressed and her husband more involved with Hitlers regime and his horrible tactics.Her husband Gunter becomes actively involved and even in charge to an extent of the euthanasia program. He quickly becomes calloused and the killings of children, elderly, disabled and many others are excused in his mind for the betterment of Germany. Will his daughters accident be enough to change his heart and mind? Or will he continue to be faithful to his country above his family no matter what the cost?Meanwhile, a long time past friend of Hedda's, Karl Muller, also involved in the program, although much more reluctantly, surfaces in their circles. This character is based on a real life character from that time period. The guilt he feels becomes overwhelming and he finally has to make a choice. The fact that his wife suffers from the mental illness depression and is quite susceptible to the regime's inhumane methods really bothers Karl. The author will keep you on the edge or your seat as you get into the story. She will keep you wondering and guessing who will be true to Hiltler, and who will be willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice. I enjoyed reading this book with exception of a couple things. One was the use of some strong language, I would have preferred not to have in the books I read. The other was the chapters were extremely long. The book consists of only fourteen chapters but they can be thirty plus pages long. I suppose I would recommend this book but with the warning of caution. There is quite a bit of graphic descriptive scenes of those who suffered under Hitler's regime, as well as several swear words. A copy of this book was provided to me by Kregel publications in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.This book is a gripping, no-holds barred fictional account of Hitler Germany through the eyes of three people: Walter Gunther, a fanatically loyal and ambitious SS officer; his wife, Hedda, a naive woman who only seeks approval from her parents; and Karl, another SS officer who is both emotional at times, and starkly moral as the book progresses.The book delves into the T4 program, sh I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.This book is a gripping, no-holds barred fictional account of Hitler Germany through the eyes of three people: Walter Gunther, a fanatically loyal and ambitious SS officer; his wife, Hedda, a naive woman who only seeks approval from her parents; and Karl, another SS officer who is both emotional at times, and starkly moral as the book progresses.The book delves into the T4 program, showing a harsh reality behind the program designed to "euthanize" those that are mentally ill, handicapped, elderly, or somehow "less" than perfect. The book's description of the atrocities done to these people ranging in age from infancy all the way to elderly made my stomach roil at times and made me want to put down the book, but at the same time, Karl's character gave me hope for the end of the book as he became the struggling moral compass through the storyline. It was eye opening also to read about those workers who ended up not being mindless drones who would kill these people that were thrown into this T4 program, and it helped me to see that there is humanity, even in those who seem the most heartless.I thoroughly enjoyed watching how Hedda's character progessed and evolved from a mindless, vapid and naive young woman, into a brave and fearless mother who would fight against the whole of the society she was in to save her child. At the same time, as Hedda grows, Walter becomes more violently fanatical up to the very end, doing things that can be disturbing to the reader. Karl doesn't progress as much physically, or as obviously as the other two main characters, but his morality and faith grow until the end of the book.Overall, though this book was a rollercoaster of emotional upheaval for me, it was a boook I couldn't put down until the end.
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  • Katherine Jones
    January 1, 1970
    I have a mixed reaction after reading this book. On the one hand, it’s an important book. It took courage to write it, and it takes courage to read it. It’s an unflinching look at the brutal, evil operations of the Nazi regime — with a focus on the infamous T4 euthanasia programme — from insiders’ perspectives. It delves into quite a bit of detail, and the plot is unrelenting as the programme’s aim hits close to home for one woman’s family.It’s a dark tale, as it must be, right up un I have a mixed reaction after reading this book. On the one hand, it’s an important book. It took courage to write it, and it takes courage to read it. It’s an unflinching look at the brutal, evil operations of the Nazi regime — with a focus on the infamous T4 euthanasia programme — from insiders’ perspectives. It delves into quite a bit of detail, and the plot is unrelenting as the programme’s aim hits close to home for one woman’s family.It’s a dark tale, as it must be, right up until its bleakly appropriate ending.It’s not a novel meant to be enjoyed, I think, but rather to expose and to challenge. Grim subject matter aside, however, I could not get into this novel as I’d hoped. Its ramp-up was slow, the destination unclear. I found the narrative disjointed and confusing as it jumped from one person’s perspective to another within the same scenes. Perhaps this reflects more on me as a reader than it does on the book, but there it is. I couldn’t latch onto any of the main characters either.I did, however, experience the appropriate amount of horror as previously unknown details were revealed, which has left a new mark on my psyche. I also deeply appreciated its naming of several brave souls — especially Christians — who spoke up, who acted, who sacrificed to make a difference. And its timely reminder that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. We would do well today to take this message to heart, and if this is every reader’s takeaway, then surely The End of Law achieved its aim.Thanks to Kregel Publications/Lion Fiction for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
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  • Cheryl M-M
    January 1, 1970
    Down does one thing really well in this story, she says it how it was. Regardless of the upsetting details, the horrific truth, the despicable depths humans were willing to go to just to get rid of unworthy humans.Instead of the focus being on Karl and his crisis of faith, which is what I believe Down intended, the surrounding drama of domestic abuse drowned out that particular part of the story. Aside from the personal family drama I think there could have been more focus on the str Down does one thing really well in this story, she says it how it was. Regardless of the upsetting details, the horrific truth, the despicable depths humans were willing to go to just to get rid of unworthy humans.Instead of the focus being on Karl and his crisis of faith, which is what I believe Down intended, the surrounding drama of domestic abuse drowned out that particular part of the story. Aside from the personal family drama I think there could have been more focus on the struggle or indeed non-existent struggle of any of the perpetrators.Guilt or lack of guilt, how do they or did they deal with their unimaginable cruelty, and the design and testing of their calculated killing machinery on a day to day basis?The efficiency, the structure, the planning and the sheer scale of annihilation is still quite inconceivable, and yet it happened. Not only did it happen, but it took far too many years for other countries to intervene and stop it. Mass murder executed with the precision of a military siege. It's what makes the Holocaust different from any other genocide or mass murder in history.The research was sound and the details were remarkable, despite the gruesome and atrocious nature of said details. I especially enjoyed the trivia about a certain high ranking Nazi's brother. Very interesting indeed.I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.
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  • Kelly Klepfer
    January 1, 1970
    The End of Law is a heavy, heavy read. I tend to shy away from wartime fiction. In my thought process there is no sense in reading something depressing when life can be so heavy all by itself. And I don’t like the omniscient point of view where the narrator knows the inner thoughts of every character. Two strikes for The End of Law, but once I got past the first couple pages I just couldn’t stop. I found so much horrific history buried between the covers, but I also saw the wonder of people sacr The End of Law is a heavy, heavy read. I tend to shy away from wartime fiction. In my thought process there is no sense in reading something depressing when life can be so heavy all by itself. And I don’t like the omniscient point of view where the narrator knows the inner thoughts of every character. Two strikes for The End of Law, but once I got past the first couple pages I just couldn’t stop. I found so much horrific history buried between the covers, but I also saw the wonder of people sacrificing and fighting against the encroaching evil of the Nazis. The characters are members of the Nazi party, many are protected from the horror of reality, others’ hands are so dirty that all sanity seems to be gone. When a little bit of truth leaks out, a powder keg blows within one family. The results are tragic. However, the thread of hope is not lost. God was not silent during that period of insanity. And the proof is in the good of the people who fought against the ideas of a few mad men. I so recommend this novel to anyone interested in this time frame. This novel was provided to me for review purposes.
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  • Tammy G.
    January 1, 1970
    I love to read about WWII. How people survived the atrocities of the evil regime but more than that I like to read of the brave men and women who had faith and helped others.But as one reads this novel it becomes apparent that sometimes innocents are killed for no reason. This may be a "made up" story but Ms. Downs tells the truth and recounts the terrible atrocities that befell many of the Jewish and German peoples. Funny (not in a laughing way) how when someone sets out to destroy a cert I love to read about WWII. How people survived the atrocities of the evil regime but more than that I like to read of the brave men and women who had faith and helped others.But as one reads this novel it becomes apparent that sometimes innocents are killed for no reason. This may be a "made up" story but Ms. Downs tells the truth and recounts the terrible atrocities that befell many of the Jewish and German peoples. Funny (not in a laughing way) how when someone sets out to destroy a certain people they invariably end up hurting/killing their own, too. My heart cried and tears escaped down my cheeks as I read the story of so many lives at stake. But the dark days come to one prominent family, SS Officer Walter Gunther's family and this is where the story gets real.One may be loyal to a certain regime/party but who it "hits" your family how will you stand?An interesting and intriguing novel that is well thought out and well written.*This book was provided by Kregel Publications*
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I love getting into the thoughts and lives of characters during WWII.This book will bring you into the lives of people very much in the middle of all Hitler desires. Hedda is kind of clueless as to what is going on but she knows her husband is changing and it’s not for the better. She is suffering and so are her children.This book isn’t overly fast, at least not to begin with, but if you press on you will be drawn into the story and lives of these characters.A heads-up, there i I love getting into the thoughts and lives of characters during WWII.This book will bring you into the lives of people very much in the middle of all Hitler desires. Hedda is kind of clueless as to what is going on but she knows her husband is changing and it’s not for the better. She is suffering and so are her children.This book isn’t overly fast, at least not to begin with, but if you press on you will be drawn into the story and lives of these characters.A heads-up, there is language in this book, actually I was surprised to find a very offensive use of the Lord’s name in this book. I do understand that this is Walter speaking and where he was at in his life and perhaps the author thought that was the best way to express that character, but that did bother me and might bother other readers.A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I recieved this book from librarything in exchange for an honest review.I love everything about history, so I was very happy to have won this book. When I first started reading it, I wasn't too sure if I was going to like it. It took me a few pages to catch the rhythm and really start getting into it. I loved it! It is a fast read and I really felt like I got to know the majority of the characters and could have definite opinions of them. I appreciate an author who can make me feel things I recieved this book from librarything in exchange for an honest review.I love everything about history, so I was very happy to have won this book. When I first started reading it, I wasn't too sure if I was going to like it. It took me a few pages to catch the rhythm and really start getting into it. I loved it! It is a fast read and I really felt like I got to know the majority of the characters and could have definite opinions of them. I appreciate an author who can make me feel things for the characters.This book was, as I said, easy to read but so heartbreaking. It is hard for those of us who didn't live through Hitler's time to imagine the types of things he and others had done to other human beings really happened. Reading about them, at least for me, makes me angry to thing how long they went on and how easily people went along with it.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    3.5End of Law deals with the T4 program (killing of those "unworthy of life" such as the disabled and mentally ill) and navigates the complexities of ambition and humanity well-such is Down's skill, when the characters were desperate and unsure of what to do, I too couldn't see a way out
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  • Kathrine
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was interested in the description which is why I entered the giveaway. The book explores the ethical conflict that many German officers/ soldiers must have gone through...ordered to "eliminate" undesirables, and in the case of this book, children. Although I wish the book developed the characters' emotions more than actions, it was food for thought. The book contrasts two sides: loving family men who commit atrocities and cold, heartless men who co I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway. I was interested in the description which is why I entered the giveaway. The book explores the ethical conflict that many German officers/ soldiers must have gone through...ordered to "eliminate" undesirables, and in the case of this book, children. Although I wish the book developed the characters' emotions more than actions, it was food for thought. The book contrasts two sides: loving family men who commit atrocities and cold, heartless men who commit atrocities and their family suffers from their heartlessness. I gave the book three stars only because it did slow a little at times. Worth the read though.
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  • Kazimiera pendrey
    January 1, 1970
    this book was a really great read, in fact I would have to say that this book is the best in this genre that I have read in a very long time. this book was based on real events and people and in somxchang for an honest reviese parts was very harrowing but any book about Nazi Germany is usually more than a little harrowing. I was lucky to win a copy of of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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