Ceasefire? For real? It is the 2nd November 1918 and the soldiers in the trenches can not believe how it is rumored imminent end of the war shortly. Ceasefire? At last! Soldier Albert Maillard now want to take any more risks, because “is to die as the last to die like first: completely idiotic”. So best squat on field pack and serve out the remaining time.
Ceasefire? Mais non! Lieutenant Henri d’Aulnay-Pradelle needs a skirmish necessarily to conquer medals and transport and return as a hero and captain to civilization.
Unfortunately, no one wants more mitscharmützeln in minimalist front section 113, either here or over at the Germans. help out the captain-in-law has to – if not now, then when? – and staged a spectacular action. Two harmless scouts head out to the location the enemy to explore three shots to put it, loud curses against “swine … Boches, miserable Pack! Barbarians!” kindle long cooled aggressions new, already cross grenades back their cars, and the lieutenant commanding the attack: Get out of the trenches.
There must also listless Albert with!. Zigzagging he beats preceded it. The bullets hiss. Comrade Édouard Péricourt crashes injured on one of the dead scouts. Albert crawls approach to help him – and discovered two bullet holes in the Scout’s body, more precisely, in the back.
Alberts deeper insight can Pradelle, who therefore will stop at nothing to his battle provoking, just be unpleasant. The yet-Lieutenant charges at Albert and transported him through a targeted thrust into a gaping shell hole where the nuisance has become subordinates completely sinks into the morass.
A hand grenade pulverized the two corpora delicti, a second he throws the Boches as a “parting gift” to the trenches. The brilliant coup over the Germans in the front section 113 will make him captain.
Meanwhile believed Albert already, “the lights go out”, but then breathed into him a dead horse in the mud unexpectedly his breath, until Édouard freed him from his premature grave. Unfortunately, hitting the rescuers dig at a shrapnel and snatches the lower half of the face of it.
This macabre and cynical scene of the First World War in Pierre Lemaitre’s novel ends, “I’ll see you up there.” But the party begins is just beginning; in the postwar period, a black comedy by unscrupulous traders unfolds in a richly corrupt society. All strive upward, to improve their social position, and with maximum profit. Reference is made to Devils come-out bribed, cheated, lied, came down and exploited. In private, you can treat yourself, man or woman, any sense of joy is unrestrained alien.
Only two people hold the flag sincere humanity high. A nice little girl named Louise and a ministry official before retirement, a ” bureaucrat at the lowest level without career without future, “ungelitten in his authority.
Albert Édouard and must get by on the losing side. Édouard, once bored son of wealthy Parisians, suffering in the hospital under never-ending pain and his cruelly disfigured face. Albert takes care of him, inspires him liquid food and procured him a lot of charitable morphine illegally. Surgery and prosthesis denied Édouard, and in the public or back to his family he does not want. Rather, he wants to leave the hospital with a new identity. Also, this action pulls Albert sent by him. Although all the criminal offenses weigh heavily on his weak mind, it is the moral obligation deliberately towards his lifesaver.
In Paris relate both a poor one-room apartment in a backyard. Albert returning soldiers find no employment in his previous profession as an accountant, so he marched as a poster carrier on the boulevards of Paris. The low-wage barely enough to survive and certainly not the same for heroin amounts of its dependent veteran friend.
a bright spot in the gloomy life alone brings Louise, the eleven-year old daughter of the landlady. Without fear of Edouard’s grimace, his cooing, smoking through the nose she visits him every day to tinker with it masks. Édouard learn to laugh again (But “how could this go when Édouard laugh had?” Asked Albert …), summarizes new lease on life, carefully studied the newspapers, brings the Louise, and finds a glorious idea. As the emergency grows and Albert his nocturnal panic attacks only survive if it keeps the improvised by Édouard horse head made of paper mache in his arms, finally agrees Albert: they will take part in a nationwide contest that “every city, every village, every school, even supplied “each station with its own war memorial. But if the nation wants to put their dead expensive monuments, while leaving their surviving war heroes in their time of need you down, will Édouard Albert and just revenge, all ripped off, take off with the booty million francs in the colonies. They realize a coup with designs for statues and busts and tempting for contract discount on payment. However, a supply of works of art is not internally provided.
Meanwhile is also Captain Henri d’Aulnay-Pradelle not idle. The “Esquire from impoverished blow”, a true “puke” and refined “scumbag”, is the prototype of the post-war profits moth. His first coup in peacetime: Conquest of an affluent base through marriage into a well-off middle-class family. A chance encounter had paved the way for him, traveled as Mademoiselle Madeleine Péricourt from Paris to the battlefield came. An unknown soldier her named Albert Maillard had placed her and her father in a letter informed that her brother Edouard had died of his injuries in the hospital. Now they had come to let convict his remains in the family tomb in Paris. For Pradelle not inexperienced in bartering, an imposing gate opens up next to the door to marriage to a powerful business model: All families want even their dead back to set up central honor cemeteries in the state, and Pradelle not inexperienced with corpses, will deliver them. His second coup: Chinese exhume the body (whether French or German – dead are all the same), make great earthly Covers fit, make stray items to mix individuals together while Pradelle by minimizing the coffin sizes and prices, as well as maximizing the rate care by occasional Erdbefüllung.
Pradelles third coup follows swiftly. The nouveau riche Altadlige now wants to conquer the social status it deserves supposedly. Move 1: Application for membership of the fine “Jockey Club”. With concerns of the candidate is taken. Although the guy is vulgar, but of nobility, with relationships, this handsomely if he is stalking the arrogant goose-stepping through the rooms, a pleasing intact hero. Move 2: humiliation of lying, hollow, inflated dominions. Only then would he finally arriviert. “To pull the leather really let go of and firm” for the dream to time in fine surroundings, “is vulgar express” Pradelle are still missing a few million.
Although author Pierre Lemaitre on points that Henri d’Aulnay-Pradelles bitter evil rogue piece is fictional, it does not have to do without real model. In 1920, the French press revealed a “scandal Militärexhumierungen”. Around it interweaves Lemaitre his exciting narrative strands with actors whose criminal energy discharges unabated. The novel entertains with unexpected voltes and situational humor, but above all with satirical humor, in which one often stays away the air laugh as Albert in the pit. With a brilliant, bizarre conclusion that brings together the two major storylines, the novel ends in July 1920th.