The Tenth Witness
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On the night of October 9, 1799, the frigate HMS Lutine breaks apart on the shoals of the Frisian Islands off the Dutch coast. When the insurer Lloyds of London pays on the wreck, it takes ownership and plans expeditions to recoup the lost millions in gold and silver. Nearly two hundres years later, after a series of largely failed salvage operations, Lloyds tries again - this time on the strength of new technologies and a strategy devised by the gifted young engineer Henri Poincare.
It is late spring, 1978. Poincare has worked to near-exhaustion preparing for the Lutine dive. Before the salvage season begins, he takes a rare holiday: a hike at low tide across the vast, muddy flats of the Wadden Sea. His guide is Liesel Kraus - smart, able, appealing...and troubled. She and her brother Anselm, directors of Kraus Steel, are haunted by a violent history that generates both rage and an enormous, corrupting wealth. The closer Poincare draws to Liesel and Anselm, the more warped life becomes until love and a death threat compel him to investigate what no one else - aside from Interpol - will. Pain as well as treasure, he discovers, can be dredged up from the past to reshape the present.
The Tenth Witness, a prequel to the award-winning All Cry Chaos, is the tale of a man upended: a twenty-eight year old who rejects a brilliant career in engineering for an uncertain, darker one: international police work.
what she’d come for. She had met the woman who married one of the ten who’d stood as witnesses for her father. “Did he ever talk about life in the camp?” “The SS worked them like animals, is all I know. Look,” she said. “In those days, people didn’t live or die the normal way. Do you understand me? Jacob survived. We met, and we just wanted to live and die in the normal way. He would have talked to you, for Isaac’s sake. Now he won’t.” She rocked back and forth. Liesel said, “Tosha, did your
myself above them. And what friendship, or marriage, could endure that? Alec stared at the check. “He paid you this for two months’ work?” “Plus the initial check. Generous, right?” “No. It’s stupidly generous. What’s with this guy?” We heard squealing across the barge, where Gospodarek let the children climb on the cannons. Liesel and Theresa helped them to balance while Schmidt watched the crane operator, who swung a long, oxidized rail over a growing pile of metal. “We found a
were just starting. This would have been, what, 1928? He was twenty-five or so. Younger than me. He worked like a plough horse, and he had a little business going, for sure, making short beams. “Otto, me, and the others—we were stupider, so we worked the mines. But Otto’s uncle was the mayor of Gross Mahner, and one day at the end of a long shift Otto goes to Frick and says, ‘There’s plenty of steel business. Let’s be partners.’ And Frick, he told me this himself, says, ‘Go on, get out—who needs
Garden and their last bright shout of life. “How did you get the ID made?” I asked. “They let no one into the Zentrale Stelle without an ID. Every document I found listed A. Bieler. You read every file. You knew everything.” She shrugged. “The ID was left over from my school years, when I was underage. I paid to have it made so I could go drinking with my friends. We all did it, Henri.” “Did you steal the photos of Gottlieb and Vogt?” “No, they were gone by the time I got to the Archive. As I
said, for words of love offered to ghosts are written in fire. So were the deaths of millions. But so, too, I swear it, is love. Author’s Note The Tenth Witness builds on certain facts worth noting. In 1799, HMS Lutine sank off the Dutch coast (near the Wadden Sea) with a thousand bars of gold. When Lloyd’s of London paid on the loss, it assumed title to a vast treasure. Despite many salvage attempts, the bulk of the gold was never recovered. The salvage recounted in this novel is fiction, as