The Amber Crane
Chafing at the rules of the amber guild, Peter, an apprentice during the waning years of the Thirty Years’ War, finds and keeps a forbidden piece of amber, despite the risk of severe penalties should his secret be discovered.
Little does he know that this amber has hidden powers, transporting him into a future far beyond anything he could imagine. In dreamlike encounters, Peter witnesses the ravages of the final months of World War II in and around his home. He becomes embroiled in the troubles faced by Lioba, a girl he meets who seeks to escape from the oncoming Russian army.
Peter struggles with the consequences of his actions, endangering his family, his amber master’s reputation, and his own future. How much is Peter prepared to sacrifice to right his wrongs?
References to rape, Holocaust, World War II, violence
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Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzeXqE
Now for the excerpt -
Excerpt from Chapter 6 – GIRL WITHOUT A NAME
Peter shivers. His bed is gone, and he is standing in a strange room.
Light comes through a small opening. The air feels cold and clammy. He rubs his eyes as he takes in his surroundings. A bed stands at a slant in the middle of the room, bare, with its mattress slashed open like a gaping wound. As his eyes adjust, he can see a chest of drawers, two of the drawers pulled out, the top one hanging crookedly in its tracks, its contents spilled onto the floor. A cast-iron stove is covered in dust, and a chipped white enamel pitcher and bowl have been upended and tossed onto the floor.
On a big chair in the corner, someone is curled up underneath a green and red-checkered woolen covering.
On the floor close to the chair sits the same beast Peter remembers from the previous dream, its head raised and growling softly. The fluffy hair around its ears, combined with its impossibly long slightly curved snout, gives it a curiously bird-like appearance, a grey raptor ready to pounce on its prey.
The sleeper is awake, staring at him and clutching the blanket with one hand, the other hidden in its folds.
“You are a girl,” Peter exclaims as he takes in the sleeper’s face and the long thick braid resting on top of the blanket. His voice sounds muffled as if he is talking through thick cloudbanks.
The girl moves her arm and pulls out an odd-looking pistol from beneath her leg. She points it directly at him, scowling furiously.
Peter gulps and takes a step backward. “I am not going to hurt you.”
“Don’t come any closer.” Her voice is scratchy as if she has not spoken in a while. “I’ll shoot, I promise you that.” Then she adds with a note of puzzlement, “Who are you? You don’t sound Russian.”
“Russian? Are the Russians fighting against the Swedes?”
“Are you daft?” She still holds on to the pistol. “Where are you from? Are you a refugee?”
“I live in Stolpmünde.”
“Stolpmünde? Why are you here? Shouldn’t you be going west?”
“What is ‘here’? And what do you mean going west?”
“Elbing, or at least somewhere nearby. I lost track.”
“We have not seen any refugees for a while,” Peter says slowly, shaking his head. None of this makes any sense. Elbing—that is almost halfway to Königsberg. “With Denmark out of the war, it has been quieter.” This strange girl must be confused. “Will you stop pointing that pistol at me?”
“Denmark?” She frowns at him. “What are you talking about? Denmark is occupied, and they aren’t fighting at all. And Swedes? Pistol? Are you serious? And why are you wearing such strange clothes?”
“What do you mean? And what about Russians?”
“I saw you the other day. You were in a ditch, watching me,” the girl says accusingly. “And last night, I dreamed of you. Wait.” Her voice grows faint. “Come back.”
Malve von Hassell
Malve von Hassell is a freelance writer, researcher, and translator. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research. Working as an independent scholar, she published The Struggle for Eden: Community Gardens in New York City (Bergin & Garvey 2002) and Homesteading in New York City 1978-1993: The Divided Heart of Loisaida (Bergin & Garvey 1996). She has also edited her grandfather Ulrich von Hassell's memoirs written in prison in 1944, Der Kreis schließt sich - Aufzeichnungen aus der Haft 1944 (Propylaen Verlag 1994). She has taught at Queens College, Baruch College, Pace University, and Suffolk County Community College, while continuing her work as a translator and writer. She has self-published two children’s picture books, Letters from the Tooth Fairy (2012/2020) and Turtle Crossing (2021), and her translation and annotation of a German children’s classic by Tamara Ramsay, Rennefarre: Dott’s Wonderful Travels and Adventures (Two Harbors Press, 2012). The Falconer’s Apprentice (namelos, 2015) was her first historical fiction novel for young adults. She has published Alina: A Song for the Telling (BHC Press, 2020), set in Jerusalem in the time of the crusades, and The Amber Crane (Odyssey Books, 2021), set in Germany in 1645 and 1945. She has completed a biographical work about a woman coming of age in Nazi Germany and is working on a historical fiction trilogy featuring Adela of Normandy.
You can connect with the author via these platforms -
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Malve-von-Hassell/
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That's it for now.
Till the next time.
Take care Zoe.