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Aharon Appelfeld is the author of twelve internationally acclaimed novels, including The Iron Tracks, The Retreat, and Unto the Soul (all available from Schocken), and Badenheim 1939. He lives in Jerusalem, Israel. Our story opens in an Austrian city, two generations before the Holocaust, where almost all of the Jews have converted to Christianity. Today the church bells are pealing for Karl, an ambitious young civil servant whose conversion will clear his path to a coveted high government post. Karl's future looks bright, but with his promotion comes a political crisis that turns his conversion into a baptism by fire, unexpectedly reuniting Karl with his past and forcing him to take a stand he could never have imagined.