If you read Edward M. Erdelac’s story, Andersonville, about the most sadistic rebel prison of the Civil War, with a supernatural twist, you likely have some idea where he’s going with this new novel, Monstrumführer, combining the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, with Frankenstein’s monster. Once again, this gifted storyteller plays with historic events and imbues his tale with elements of horror, as Josef Mengele endeavors to improve upon the work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein.
Jewish twins Jotham and Eli are taken to a concentration camp. It was interesting to see how the twins went in different directions once there. Jotham manages to become the golden boy as a messenger for Dr. Mengele, while Eli falls in with the resistance. The story of their life at Auschwitz was absolutely devastating. As twins they are somewhat luckier than others as Dr. Mengele wants them for his experiments, but what they see outside of their barracks is unreservedly horrible.
Horribly emaciated, rail thin, naked bodies, haphazardly piled together, spindly limbs intertwined, oversized, shaven heads with skeletal faces, eyes rolling. It was like a refuse pile of imperfect marionettes heaped in the corner of a toymaker’s workshop.
The author excels at combining real life events and horror into a complex, well-constructed plot. At times this is an unpleasant read, but all of the characters in the concentration camp are masterfully drawn, making Monstrumführer a creative and entertaining work which left me with much to ponder.