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Extended Audio Sample Saints and Villains, by Denise Giardina Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (254 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Denise Giardina Narrator: Susan O’Malley Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the charnel house that was Europe in the Second World War, there were few instances of shining moral courage, let alone secular sainthood. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and Nazi resister, was the exception. A true hero, he risked and finally lost his life through his participation in a failed plot to assassinate Hitler.

In this gripping, resonant novel, we witness the shaping of this emblematic figure through the events of his extraordinary life. Here is Bonhoeffer experiencing the awakening of his social conscience while witnessing racism in the United States; leading a breakaway church in Germany as the Nazis rise to power; entering a dangerous liaison with a Jewish woman; undertaking perilous clandestine meetings abroad under cover; and finally, living the dark night of the soul in prison.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Giardina manages the extremely difficult task of giving a known story genuine tension and spiritual resonance.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “High drama…Stirring adventure…To find a historical figure like Dietrich Bonhoeffer packaged in what is essentially a moral thriller is a surprising joy.”

    Boston Globe

  • “[Giardina] illuminates the web of moral decisions within which we all exist. A compelling, frightening, yet beautiful novel, written with passion, understanding, and eloquence.”



  • “[Giardina] surpasses herself with this powerful re-creation…A big novel in every sense of the word, and a triumphant portrayal of one of the century’s authentic heroes.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “O’Malley’s semi-voiced narration is clear, expressive, and suited to this fictionalized biography…Differentiating among the characters by changing the pitch of her voice rather than trying to assume a variety of accents, she gives the text a good pace and sustains the listener’s interest.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Holly | 2/8/2014

    " Interesting account of man trying to do the right thing in Germany during WW2. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Margaret | 1/19/2014

    " A novel, with some invented characters as well as historical ones, this is a wonderful book to help understand life in Germany in the 1930's and '40's and before, and to look at issues that religious people were working with "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lee White | 1/2/2014

    " Very very good. I am captivated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Marie | 12/28/2013

    " Gripping, fascinating historical novel about Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life. "

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About the Author
Author Denise Giardina

Denise Giardina, the author of three previous novels, teaches at West Virginia State College in Charleston, West Virginia. She is a licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Church.