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July 25 , 2010

Saint Peter's Snow

A Novel


It could have been a common street accident that put Dr. Georg Amberg in the hospital, but for the five weeks his doctors say he has been in a coma, recovering from a brain hemorrhage after being run down by a car, he has memories of a more disturbing nature. What of the violent events in the rural village of Morwede? The old woman threatening the priest with a breadknife, angry peasants with flails and cudgels, Baron von Malchin with a pistol defending his dreams for the Holy Roman Empire-how could Dr. Amberg ignore these? And what of the secret experiment to make a mind-altering drug from a white mildew occurring on wheat-a mildew called Saint Peter’s Snow.
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In this feverish tale of a man caught in the balance between two realities, Leo Pertuz offers a mystery of identity and a fable of faith and political fervor, banned by the Nazis when it was first published in 1933. Saint Peter’s Snow is typical of Perutz’s storytelling mastery: extraordinarily rich and elegant fiction that is taut with suspense, full of Old World irony and humor.

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