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In this triumphant debut inspired by true events, a ragtag gang of journalists and resistance fighters risk everything for an elaborate scheme to undermine the Reich.
The Nazis stole their voices. But they would not be silenced.
Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network that publishes dissident underground newspapers.
The Nazis track down Aubrion’s team and give them an impossible choice: turn the resistance newspapers into a Nazi propaganda bomb that will sway public opinion against the Allies, or be killed. Faced with no decision at all, Aubrion has a brilliant idea. While pretending to do the Nazis’ bidding, they will instead publish a fake edition of Le Soir that pokes fun at Hitler and Stalin—daring to laugh in the face of their oppressors.
The ventriloquists have agreed to die for a joke, and they have only eighteen days to tell it.
Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters and stunning historical detail, E.R. Ramzipoor’s dazzling debut novel illuminates the extraordinary acts of courage by ordinary people forgotten by time. It is a moving and powerful ode to the importance of the written word and to the unlikely heroes who went to extreme lengths to orchestrate the most stunning feat of journalism in modern history.
“The skills of Aubrion and his miss-matched gang of conspirators is matched by the exquisite weaving of this story by E.R. Ramzipoor. Funny, sad, and poignant in its telling, The Ventriloquists reminds us that so much of what we read, hear and watch is propaganda--for someone, for some organization, some country. I cannot recommend this story high enough.” —Heather Morris, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz
“Art and artifice, life and death, collide powerfully in The Ventriloquists, a novel about a colorful band of resistance fighters who risk everything to publish a subversive newspaper mocking the Reich while at the same time pretending to work for it. Eloquently reminding us that self-expression is the truest form of survival, E.R. Ramzipoor has made an unforgettable and important contribution to the canon of Holocaust literature.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale and The Lost Girls of Paris
“The clock starts hammering on page one as Ramzipoor brilliantly gives a lost moment of history voice, flesh, and soul. This frighteningly relevant look at what happens when the news is controlled by biased and antagonistic forces becomes spellbinding as masters of subterfuge risk everything in order to carry forth their own trembling truth.” —Devin Murphy, national bestselling author of The Boat Runner
"Debut novelist Ramzipoor has fashioned a compelling historical thriller ... [N]ever less than engrossing."—Bill Ott, Booklist starred review