Set in 1930s Berlin, during the Nazis' rise to power, this story brings together Sophie Riedesel, an intelligent, adventurous fourteen-year-old with Isaac Zarco and his friends, most of whom are Jews, ex-circus performers and underground activists. It is a love story and tragedy - and a tale of ferocious heroism.
A Novel of Berlin, Prophesy, and Unfinished Portraits
In the Author's Note to his internationally bestselling novel, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, Richard Zimler described how he discovered a long-lost 16th-century manuscript in an Istanbul cellar written by a Portuguese kabbalist named Berekiah Zarco. More than 400 years later, Isaac Zarco becomes convinced by the pact between Hitler and Stalin - and other 'signs' - that an apocalyptic prophesy made by his ancestor is about to come terribly true. Is he mad to believe that by decoding these ancient kabbalistic texts he might be the one to save the world?
Set in 1930s Berlin, during the Nazis' rise to power, The Seventh Gate brings together Sophie Riedesel, an intelligent, artistic, and sexually adventurous fourteen-yearold with Isaac Zarco and his friends, most of whom are Jews, ex-circus performers and underground activists. When a series of forced sterilizations, brutal murders and 'disappearings' to concentration camps decimates the group, Sophie must fight with all her ingenuity and guile to save all that she loves about Germany - at any cost. In its beautifully shaped portraits and in its chilling but sensuous evocation of Berlin in the 1930s, The Seventh Gate is at one and the same time a love story and tragedy - and a tale of ferocious heroism.
Zimler [is] a present-day scholar and writer of remarkable erudition and compelling imagination, an American Umberto Eco. - Spectator
Zimler has this spark of genius, which critics can't explain but readers recognize, and which every novelist desires but few achieve. - Independent
Zimler is an honest, powerful writer. - Guardian
Zimler's writing is pacey and accessible without ever patronising the reader; deeply moving without ever descending into schmaltz. - Observer
Richard Zimler was born in Manhasset, New York. After gaining degrees in comparative religion from Duke University and in journalism from Stanford University, he worked as a journalist. In 1990, he moved to Porto, Portugal, where he has taught journalism for the last twelve years.
He has published four novels since 1996: Unholy Ghosts, The Angelic Darkness, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon -- named 1998 Book of the Year by three British critics and a bestseller in eleven countries -- and Hunting Midnight, also a bestseller.
Zimler has won many prizes for his writing, and has lectured on Portuguese-Jewish culture all over the world. When not writing, he enjoys gardening at his weekend house in the north of Portugal.