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Extended Audio Sample Rosa: A Novel Audiobook, by Jonathan Rabb Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (313 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Rabb Narrator: Simon Prebble Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2009 ISBN: 9781400182503
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A murdered revolutionary …
A vicious serial killer …
A city in chaos …
All lead to Rosa.

In the last days of the First World War, socialist revolution swept across Germany, sending Kaiser Wilhelm into exile and transforming Berlin into a battleground. But for Detective Inspector Nikolai Hoffner and his young assistant, Hans Fichte, the revolution is a mere inconvenience. Four women from the slums of Berlin have turned up dead, all with identical markings etched into their backs, and Hoffner and Fichte have spent the better part of six weeks trying to crack the bizarre case.

Things take a troubling turn when the political police begin to show an interest in Hoffner’s investigation. Hoffner has no idea why the Polpo would want to get their hands dirty with a serial murderer … until he is shown the lifeless body of Rosa Luxemburg, the same eerie markings on her back. Rumors abound that Rosa, one of the leaders of the suppressed socialist uprising, was assassinated by an angry mob, but the pattern carved into her back tells a different story.

In his remarkable thriller, Jonathan Rabb paints a vivid, unforgettable picture of a city and a people poised between the chaos of the First World War and the darkness to come, a time when political thugs, petty thieves, and charismatic leaders rushed to fill the void left behind. Into this gap steps Hoffner, who, while battling his own personal demons, is still determined to find out who is preying on the women of Berlin, even as he gets drawn deeper into the mystery surrounding Rosa’s death. Hoffner’s search for the killer leads him on a dark and twisted journey through the battle-scarred streets of the city, where he soon discovers that nothing is as it appears. And while he finds allies in unexpected places, he is met at every turn by men who will stop at nothing to keep him from finding out the truth about Rosa.

A genuine mystery at the time, Rosa’s fate has continued to prompt speculation to this day. Rabb’s taut political thriller imagines one strikingly real possibility. With his first two novels, The Overseer and The Book of Q, Rabb proved that he had a talent not only for writing suspenseful narratives but for illuminating the darkest corners of history as well. With Rosa, his finest work, he brings to life a world capital on the brink of chaos, a tragic revolutionary who both inspired and enraged, and a compellingly complex, world-weary, deeply flawed but brilliant inspector named Nikolai Hoffner.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 2/10/2014

    " Entertaining mystery set on post WWI Berlin "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joy | 2/8/2014

    " The atmosphere and the characters are compelling and the history seems to be accurate, but the plot is far too convoluted. Nevertheless, for the atmosphere, characters and history, I am now reading the second book in the series, SHADOW AND LIGHT. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Janette | 2/7/2014

    " Could NOT get into this book even though I think it was going to be good. Just the wrong book at the wrong time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natasha | 1/28/2014

    " A smart, historical thriller set in post- WW1 Berlin. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen stern | 1/11/2014

    " Somewhat thriller, somewhat whodunnit, somewhat history. Somewhat sums it up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lewis Weinstein | 1/10/2014

    " A twisted fascinating plot that reveals much about Munich in the 1920s. For me, it was excellent background research for my next novel, tentatively titled CHOOSING HITLER. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 1/1/2014

    " Excellent noir type novel set in Germany after WWI.Great historical research. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 12/27/2013

    " I don't like depressing and noir which this book was. that setting did lend itself to the times and even the dark characters were in that mode. Was an interesting take on what happened after the murders of the communist leaders including Rosa Luxenberg. Three stars because it was not my type book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen Mitchell | 12/19/2013

    " Brilliant atmospheric book about Berlin in 1919. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Loren | 12/16/2013

    " Interesting story based on real history. But story is developed far too slowly. Just about gave up on it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brenda Hawley | 12/8/2013

    " This is the first book in a three book series set in pre World War II Berlin.. great writing... research... characters... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 5/7/2013

    " This is a new character - Det Hoffner - for me. I'm intrigued by Weimar > post ii Germany based fiction. This was not only terrific for atmosphere, charater development but also a whopping good mystery. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 4/3/2013

    " Great story. It delved into the the roots of the German NAZI Party while using real historical characters as a part of the main plot. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joan | 3/11/2013

    " This book took me forever to read and I think only the inertia of February blahs prevented me from flipping to the end. However, flipping to the end would not have helped. This is a slow story. Well written. Lots of period detail, but I just never warmed to it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Naomi | 1/17/2013

    " Right after the first World War a communist revolution occured in Germany. The murder of one of its ideological leaders, Rosa Luxemburg is woven into the fictional serial killings of other women which compounds the work of the detectives assigned to the case. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana Sandberg | 8/9/2012

    " Really liked this one. Set in post-WWI Berlin, and involving the historical fact of the 4-month disappearance of the corpse of Rosa Luxemburg. Rabb constructs a fascinating tale around this, rich and complex. Most absorbing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 10/28/2011

    " Dense, brooding and dark. Well written and interesting although I got rather confused with the large number of characters and it crawled somewhat towards the end. It felt overlong. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lou | 5/11/2011

    " Excellent detective story set in post WW I Germany. Lots of historical material, strong protagonist. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter Abresch | 5/6/2011

    " A mystery about the time right after WW1 when Germany is in turmoil after the Kaiser fled into exile, and the detective has to track down a killer leaving bodies around Berlin during a time of a social revolt, but also has to track down a politico using the bodies for his own end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 4/27/2011

    " Entertaining mystery set on post WWI Berlin "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam | 4/2/2011

    " This is a new character - Det Hoffner - for me. I'm intrigued by Weimar > post ii Germany based fiction. This was not only terrific for atmosphere, charater development but also a whopping good mystery.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Loren | 3/17/2011

    " Interesting story based on real history. But story is developed far too slowly. Just about gave up on it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eileen | 9/8/2010

    " Somewhat thriller, somewhat whodunnit, somewhat history. Somewhat sums it up. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 5/19/2010

    " It takes place in an interesting time period -- Germany, post WWI -- but I never warmed up to the story or to the characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joan | 2/5/2010

    " This book took me forever to read and I think only the inertia of February blahs prevented me from flipping to the end. However, flipping to the end would not have helped. This is a slow story. Well written. Lots of period detail, but I just never warmed to it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Naomi | 1/29/2010

    " Right after the first World War a communist revolution occured in Germany. The murder of one of its ideological leaders, Rosa Luxemburg is woven into the fictional serial killings of other women which compounds the work of the detectives assigned to the case. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana | 9/5/2009

    " Really liked this one. Set in post-WWI Berlin, and involving the historical fact of the 4-month disappearance of the corpse of Rosa Luxemburg. Rabb constructs a fascinating tale around this, rich and complex. Most absorbing.

    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lou | 8/25/2009

    " Excellent detective story set in post WW I Germany. Lots of historical material, strong protagonist. "

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About the Author
Author Jonathan Rabb

Jonathan Rabb is the author of the novels Rosa, The Overseer, and The Book of Q. He lives with his wife, Andra, and two children in New York.

About the Narrator

Simon Prebble, a British-born performer, is a stage and television actor and veteran narrator of some three hundred audiobooks. As one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices, he has received thirty-seven Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie in 2010. He lives in New York.