Sophie, Don't Die!Alnæs, Karsten: Ikke dø, Sofie!
The assassination of arch duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie during their visit to Sarajevo 28th June 1914 triggered World War I. But for no one were the events that day more fateful and dramatic than for the people directly affected – the assassination group of Yugoslav nationalists and their two victims.
Alnæs follows the Franz Ferdinand and Sophie that morning, as well as the19 year old assassin Gavrilo Princip and two of his co-conspirators as they line up with their grenades and guns at different points along the couple’s planned route. All five lead lives on the edges of normal society – on the one hand there is the married couple, fabulously rich and powerful, and still deeply in love after 15 years of a marriage that has nevertheless not been fully approved by the Emperor and the Austrian aristocracy. On the other there are the young conspirators, full of dreams, ideals and visions, haunted by sickness and defeats, but still carrying their human dignity.
Combining empathy and deep historical understanding, Alnæs succeeds in making these disparate characters emerge from history as sharp and full people. SOPHIE, DON’T DIE! is a novel of the conditions for peace, of fanatic nationalism and the proximity of death, of joy of life and transient happiness, of the architects of war and the disciples of violence. It is a thrilling novel of terrorism that grips the reader from the first page.
“Sophie, Sophie, don’t die! Stay alive for our children!” where the last words Franz Ferdinand uttered to his wife as they lay dying in the open car.
Praise for Sophie, Don't Die!:
"[Alnæs] vividly portrays the cultural, religious, and political climate in Europe, life around 1914, as well as the heat, the atmosphere and the teeming crowds in Sarajevo this day. The language is sensitive and controlled. (...) A dense little novel which maintains the suspense till the very last page."
First published: 2009, Aschehoug
Karsten Alnæs: Biography and bibliography
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