Qualities of Mercy

| September 10, 2017

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BERLIN, 1938. When Judith Morgenstern, a 26-year-old Jewish woman, is tricked into an SS hospital for eye surgery, she ends up blind and trapped–a victim of live medical experimentation.

Her only hope seems to be Dr. Horst Eicher, the acclaimed SS ophthalmologist who takes over her case and promises to return her sight. What Judith doesn’t know is that Horst caused her blindness himself.
In the cauldron of hate that is Hitler’s Germany, where relations between the SS and Jews are strictly forbidden, Horst spins a web of lies around the persistent, outspoken Judith while his ambition to excel in the Nazi medical world and an ingrained prejudice against Jews wrestle with his burgeoning, unspoken passion for her.

Judith waits hopefully for her corrective operation while she struggles to awaken Horst’s conscience and compassion. She suffers a crescendo of abuse from the SS hospital staff, and Horst is sucked into a suspense-filled cat and mouse game with them as he tries to keep Judith alive.

Qualities of Mercy explores the moment in Nazi “medicine” when the euthanasia program was born, opening a direct path to death camps and the cataclysm of the Holocaust. It also deals with the Lebensborn racial breeding program and Nazi exploitation of women. Masterfully woven throughout is a scathing look at Hitler’s most powerful policy: brutal, senseless anti-Semitism forged into a phony racist doctrine to justify mass murder.

Qualities of Mercy mingles elements of a medical thriller with an astonishing depth of historical detail and frequent one-two punches at politics, religion, and philosophy in 20th-century Europe.

Readers who love Kristin Hannah´s The Nightingale and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See will relish this gripping story of a woman’s determination to catalyze the transformation of an ignorant, bigoted soul, help him strip away the veils of prejudice and save both of their lives. In Judith’s words, “You win when I win.”

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