We encounter Jakub Szapiro as he is knocking out his rival after a brief and lopsided fight. Around the ring we hear cries of joy from the Jewish audience and the disappointment of the Polish fans. The winning boxer snubs his defeated opponent – a member of a Fascist organization. Triumphant and admired, Szapiro becomes an idol. He is not, however, the perfect superhero type. He is the right-hand man of Kum Kaplica, Warsaw’s “Godfather,” head of the PolishJewish mafia, which harangues both Poles and Jews without bias. The boxer ruthlessly pursues crooks and wipes out his opponents in cold blood. Kum Kaplica is known throughout the city. He drives a beautiful Chrysler, is munificent toward some and oppresses and humiliates others. The developing events pull the reader into the jeopardous world of prewar Warsaw. Here conflicts are resolved by force, and the weak have no say in the matter. We encounter the fascinating and colorful figures of gangsters, gamblers, bourgeoisie, salesmen, athletes, prostitutes, and corrupt politicians from both sides of the fence. In his inimitable style, with impeccable care for historical detail, Twardoch portrays the life of the city and its criminals, as well as the political elite. He skillfully weaves in an unconventional romantic subplot and startling plot twists, ensuring his audience a truly intense read.

“The King is a deftly written thriller with a subtle and unimposing issue behind it. And a fantasy of the male ideal with a homoerotic subtext”.

Dariusz Nowacki, Gazeta Wyborcza

“This is a real ‘boy’s’ novel. It begins with a punch – with a fast-paced description of a boxing match. All of Twardoch’s fetishes are in place: weapons, cars, suits. There’s exciting violence, a locker-room atmosphere, sexual fantasies and voyeurism – we first see the main protagonist, the Jewish mafioso boxer Jakub Szapiro, through the eyes of an anxious skinny boy. Is the old Israeli army general recalling bygone times the same person? If we were to look at the first few dozen pages of The King – with its world of brawls and street curiosities – it would seem to be Twardoch’s most genre novel. A retro detective story in the spirit of Tyrmand, but darker and more brutal”.

Witold Mrozek

“After reading The King it is hard to just put it back on the shelf and pretend that we have merely read a great book. The King rummages around in our guts and plunges deep into our consciences”.

Krzysztof Varga

“This is what Twardoch probably does best – he writes about Warsaw like it was New York or Chicago of the time, and does it in fine style”.

Łukasz Grzymisławski

“It promises to be something like a Polish version of Inglourious Basterds, in which the oppressed Polish Jews, supported by a likeable Polish gangster, take revenge on Polih antisemites. Or simply a gangster picaresque novel set in an era that is increasingly popular”.

Juliusz Kurkiewicz

Release date: 2016
Pages: 432
ISBN: 978-83-08-06225-8
Rights sold: China (Shanghai Literature & Publishing House) Czech Republic (Host) Greece (Kastaniotis) Hungary (Typotex) Italy (Sellerio Editore) The Netherlands (Nieuw Amsterdam) Slovakia (Absynt) Rowohlt Verlag (Germany) World English (Amazon Publishing) Isreal (Carmel Publishing)


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The King

Szczepan Twardoch

We encounter Jakub Szapiro as he is knocking out his rival after a brief and lopsided fight. Around the ring we hear cries of joy from the Jewish audience and the disappointment of the Polish fans. The winning boxer snubs his defeated opponent – a member of a Fascist organization. Triumphant and admired, Szapiro becomes an idol. He is not, however, the perfect superhero type. He is the right-hand man of Kum Kaplica, Warsaw’s “Godfather,” head of the PolishJewish mafia, which harangues both Poles and Jews without bias. The boxer ruthlessly pursues crooks and wipes out his opponents in cold blood. Kum Kaplica is known throughout the city. He drives a beautiful Chrysler, is munificent toward some and oppresses and humiliates others. The developing events pull the reader into the jeopardous world of prewar Warsaw. Here conflicts are resolved by force, and the weak have no say in the matter. We encounter the fascinating and colorful figures of gangsters, gamblers, bourgeoisie, salesmen, athletes, prostitutes, and corrupt politicians from both sides of the fence. In his inimitable style, with impeccable care for historical detail, Twardoch portrays the life of the city and its criminals, as well as the political elite. He skillfully weaves in an unconventional romantic subplot and startling plot twists, ensuring his audience a truly intense read.

“The King is a deftly written thriller with a subtle and unimposing issue behind it. And a fantasy of the male ideal with a homoerotic subtext”.

Dariusz Nowacki, Gazeta Wyborcza

“This is a real ‘boy’s’ novel. It begins with a punch – with a fast-paced description of a boxing match. All of Twardoch’s fetishes are in place: weapons, cars, suits. There’s exciting violence, a locker-room atmosphere, sexual fantasies and voyeurism – we first see the main protagonist, the Jewish mafioso boxer Jakub Szapiro, through the eyes of an anxious skinny boy. Is the old Israeli army general recalling bygone times the same person? If we were to look at the first few dozen pages of The King – with its world of brawls and street curiosities – it would seem to be Twardoch’s most genre novel. A retro detective story in the spirit of Tyrmand, but darker and more brutal”.

Witold Mrozek

“After reading The King it is hard to just put it back on the shelf and pretend that we have merely read a great book. The King rummages around in our guts and plunges deep into our consciences”.

Krzysztof Varga

“This is what Twardoch probably does best – he writes about Warsaw like it was New York or Chicago of the time, and does it in fine style”.

Łukasz Grzymisławski

“It promises to be something like a Polish version of Inglourious Basterds, in which the oppressed Polish Jews, supported by a likeable Polish gangster, take revenge on Polih antisemites. Or simply a gangster picaresque novel set in an era that is increasingly popular”.

Juliusz Kurkiewicz

Release date: 2016
Pages: 432
ISBN: 978-83-08-06225-8
Rights sold: China (Shanghai Literature & Publishing House) Czech Republic (Host) Greece (Kastaniotis) Hungary (Typotex) Italy (Sellerio Editore) The Netherlands (Nieuw Amsterdam) Slovakia (Absynt) Rowohlt Verlag (Germany) World English (Amazon Publishing) Isreal (Carmel Publishing)