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The Hollow Bones is a novel that implores us to pay careful attention to the crucial lessons we might learn from our not-too-distant history.

Berlin, 1938. The eve of war. Ernst Schäfer, a young, ambitious zoologist, keen hunter and devoted husband of the beautiful Herta, has come to the attention of Heinrich Himmler, who invites him to lead a group of SS scientists to the frozen mountains of Tibet. Their secret mission: to search for the origins of the Aryan race. For Schäfer, the personal consequences of failure are unthinkable, yet little does he know this outlandish expedition will become a prelude to the unimaginable horror soon to overrun Europe.

Using material discovered in field diaries, letters, films, photographs and secret documents, the novel tells the story behind Schäfer through the eyes of his ill-fated lover, Herta. Nazism proved a convenient short-cut to personal glory for Schäfer, who, accompanied by a group of SS scientists, trekked across inhospitable, treacherous terrain on a mission to conduct experiments to 'prove' Nordic heritage. In 1939, the team was flown out of India on Himmler’s flying boats. Schäfer was an instant celebrity on his return to Berlin and, at just twenty-eight, he became one of the most celebrated men in Hitler’s Reich. But his world was about to change, as science was enlisted for racial murder and Himmler sent Schäfer to Dachau to observe and film medical experiments.

The Hollow Bones explores how quickly human relationships and an affinity with nature can be buried under cold ambition.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780143788911

    March 5, 2019

    Vintage Australia

    336 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780143788928

    March 5, 2019

    Random House Australia

    336 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
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