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Richard Zimler

The Seventh Gate

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The fourth novel in the Sephardic Cycle


BERLIN, 1932

Intelligent, artistic and precocious, fourteen-year-old Sophie Riedesel dreams of nothing more than becoming an actress and spending time with her beloved Jewish neighbour, Isaac Zarco. But when her father and boyfriend become Nazi collaborators and Hitler’s meteoric rise to power gathers momentum, she is forced to lead a double life to protect those closest to her.

Invited by Isaac into the Ring, a secret circle of underground activists working against the government, Sophie soon learns the ways of espionage and subterfuge. But when a series of sterilisations, murders and disappearances threatens to destroy the group, Sophie must fight to expose the traitor in their midst and save all that she loves about Germany – whatever the price.

Thrilling, suspenseful and evocative, The Seventh Gate is at once a love story, a tale of fierce heroism and a horrifying study of the Nazis’ war against the disabled.


‘Zimler’s character development is electrifying and his plot rolls along ever faster into the depths of fear. The Seventh Gate is unforgettable!’ – New York Journal of Books

The Seventh Gate is not only a superb thriller but an intelligent and moving novel about the heartbreaking human condition.” — Alberto Manguel, author of The Library at Night

‘Zimler (The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon) surpasses himself with this coming-of-age epic set in Berlin at the start of the Nazi era...The whodunit is captivating enough, but the book’s power lies in its stark and unflinching portrayal of the impact of Hitler’s eugenic policies on the infirm and disabled.’ – Publishers Weekly



Richard Zimler was born in New York in 1956 and now resides in Porto, Portugal. His twelve novels have been translated into twenty-three languages and have appeared on bestseller lists in twelve different countries, including the United States, the UK, Australia, Brazil, Italy and Portugal. Five of his works have been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, the richest prize in the English-speaking world, and he has won several other accolades for his fiction across Europe and North America. The Incandescent Threads is the latest in his Sephardic Cycle, an acclaimed group of independent works that explore the lives of different branches and generations of a Portuguese-Jewish family, the Zarcos.

zimler.com | @RichardZimler