Reviewed October 6, 1998
It is a rare occasion that I read a science fiction book that I would recommend to my mother (who dislikes Sci-Fi) but this is one of them.
Days of Cain is a time-travel novel that eschews dwelling on the science and instead deals closely with the historical location around which it is set -- Auschwitz. It is the story of Alma Lewin, a woman who goes renegade from an organization bound to protect the sanctity of established history, so that she might eradicate one of the darkest events in that history. She in turn is pursued by Gaspar James, a monitor from the 24th century, who acts in the belief that she can only do more harm than good.
The story is excellent, and the settings are wonderfully detailed. It is the characterizations, however, that makes this novel stand out from the rest. The depth of the characters, especially such unusual ones as the sympathetic nazi, Reber, draws you into the story in ways that the plot alone simply can not accomplish. The reader is made to feel for these people. In addition, the horrors of the location and the events of the Second World War are emphasized by the manner in which the author avoids "pat" answers or an overly tidy conclusion.
This is not a book of "super heroes" rushing in to save the world. It is a tale of real people in a realistic world, making hard choices and taking terrible risks in the name of their beliefs.
People Live. People Die. They are all changed irrevocably by what they witness.
but you might find it at
|Orig. Published August, 1997
ISBN# 0-380-97433-9 Avon hardcover
ISBN# 0-380-79280-X Avon trade paperback
ISBN# 0-380-79049-1 Eos mass market paperback