The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour

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by Michael R. Phillips

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Series premiere special price!

The Prussian Baron von Dortmann and his daughter face the uncertainty of life just before WW II as their faith and relationships are tested.


Series premiere special price!

The Prussian Baron von Dortmann and his daughter face the uncertainty of life just before WW II as their faith and relationships are tested.

Product Details

Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
Secret of the Rose
Product dimensions:
5.26(w) x 8.22(h) x 1.38(d)

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| The Eleventh Hour Normal Software Administrator 2 3 2001-02-01T20:00:00Z 2001-02-01T20:00:00Z 5 1314 7495 Tyndale House Publishers 62 14 9204 9.2720 6 pt 6 pt 0

Part I

The Mystery of the Garden

Summer, 1937


Among the Elite


A more distinctively old-world setting would have been difficult to imagine.

To one side of the expansive lawn, a string quartet was playing the "Menuetto" from Mozart's Serenade in G.

Waiters attired in fashionable suits made their way inconspicuously among the guests. Silver trays were held aloft by the deft fingers of catering experience, and were laden with truffles and single bites of bread topped with a multitude of colored things and glasses of white and red wine from the Mosel valley. Many other delicacies adorned various tables spread throughout the garden.

The silently moving waiters were by no means overdressed for the occasion. Most of the men sported tails and black ties, the women long gowns. The occasion had been long awaited. Everyone who was anyone in Berlin was here. Even the Führer was expected, someone had said, though he had not yet made his appearance.

The only men not sporting expensive tails were those in uniform, and more members of the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe were indeed on hand than the dozen or two foreign diplomats present were altogether comfortable with. That Germany was rapidly becoming a military power again was certainly no secret, and the look in the faces behind the uniforms was not one to engender a feeling of security concerning the development.

Three or four there were, too, whose eyes revealed an intensity and devotion to their cause which, not many years hence, would produce such panic as to hold an entire nation of their countrymen in terror. Only a year before, the Gestapo had been combined with the SS under the command of Heinrich Himmler. Though the name of the secret police was by now well enough known, the cruel connotations of dread at the very hearing of the word were still in the embryonic stage.

The bright smiles and laughter and setting of cultured serenity that on this day surrounded Gestapo and military officers, as well as the most wealthy and influential from every walk of life in Germany, belied the ominous rumbling of world events as they approached from an ever-shrinking distance. This was Berlin, the eye of the hurricane whence all the windy tumult originated but where none of it could yet be felt. Here were the elite of society, those caught up, though they yet knew it not, in determining the direction history would march, changing the world for all time.

How could they know the facade of ebullience and good cheer for what it was?

They were part of the charade; how could they then recognize its hollow ring? The distant kettledrums of history were beating a faintly discernible cadence, though few of the Berliners in attendance that afternoon were aware of it. All the others—enjoying the quartet's rendition of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and the tinkling of champagne glasses, the laughter of gaiety and the faces full of smiles—basked in the self-satisfying glow of importance, feeling the flush all the more after two or three glasses of the expensive wines Otto von Dortmann had brought in for the occasion.

The host, at the moment, was engaged in the perfunctory process of welcoming one with whom he bore a striking resemblance yet seemed altogether nonchalant to see.

"So, Heinrich," Otto was saying, "Your field hands are, ah, able to carry on without you."

"Of course," answered the other with an imperceptible smile. "As well, I'm certain, as your bank without you."

"Ah, but farming and banking are too different to be compared, wouldn't you agree?"

"You are right, Otto, which is why I am content to be a farmer."

Otto forced a smile. "Well, Heinrich, I am glad your fields and cows could spare you long enough to come to the city. . . . But, now, if you'll excuse me, I need to greet my other guests."

Heinrich nodded and watched Otto walk away.

The tight smile was still spread across Otto's face. To him it had been an awkward exchange despite its brevity. In truth, he did not like it known that Heinrich was his brother. But the state of the family finances demanded that he show him at least the respect of an occasional invitation to such affairs.

The man with whom he had been speaking watched him leave with what almost looked like a twinge of compassionate sadness in his eye. Gradually the sounds of the string quartet and tinkling glasses intruded once more into his hearing.

The "country brother" of the host, however, as Otto referred to him in his absence, Baron Heinrich von Dortmann, was aware of a different strain of music that day than that which emanated from the two violins, the viola, and the ‘cello. And it sent shivers up his spine. As it also did the few foreign diplomats who were in attendance.

"Ah, Herr Baron, es freut mich sehr Ihnen noch einmal zu sehen," said a man to Heinrich in flawless German.

"The pleasure is all mine, Mr. McCallum," returned Dortmann. "You must let me return your favor and speak to you in your native tongue!"

"Favor granted then," replied the other as the two men shook hands.

"And let me add that it is a pleasure to see you once again as well. How are things in the embassy?"

A brief cloud passed over the American's countenance, though it lasted but a moment. "These are . . . uh, difficult and . . . occasionally troublesome times, Herr von Dortmann," he replied, casting an unconscious glance at one of the prominently placed Nazi flags that stood at each side of the entryway into the house as twin reminders of the times. "But then the life of a diplomat in a foreign capital is always one fraught with the unexpected and the perilous, you know!" he added.

He attempted a laugh. It was not as light in tone as that of the society ladies all around them, which tone, and the glance at the flag that preceded it, was not lost on the brother of the host.

"I think I know what you mean," said Dortmann. "Please, Mr. Ambassador, you do not have to guard your words with me. I am not a Nazi and have few sympathies with them."

"Then in a setting such as this, Herr von Dortmann," said the other, keeping his voice low, "it seems that prudence would suggest that you do not advertise the fact."

"Except for not wanting to embarrass my brother, I do not mind who knows it. What can they do to one who speaks his mind? We are a democracy, after all."

The other did not speak. In truth, Thaddeus McCallum was not the ambassador, but the assistant ambassador to Germany from the United States, and he was one who knew well when to hold his tongue. His wife was dead. He had lived in Berlin with his one son for the past four years.

"Ah, here's my son—Matthew," he said, turning and drawing in a nice-looking young man of seventeen who was sauntering toward the conversation, several items from one of the food trays in hand. "Matthew, I'd like you to meet Herr von Dortmann."

"It is nice to meet you, sir," said the young man, offering his available hand.

"The pleasure is mine, young McCallum," replied Dortmann. "You seem to be raising another young diplomat to follow in your footsteps," he added to the boy's father with a smile. "My daughter—" he said, glancing around, "my daughter is here someplace. She's about your age, I would think, Matthew—oh yes, there she is with her uncle. Neither of you go away—I'd like you both to meet her."

Dortmann turned and hastily bumped his way through Otto's well-dressed and highly placed guests. Matthew busied himself with the contents of his hands, while his father shook hands with several nearby acquaintances, including the German ambassador to Washington, who was home for a month.

In a minute or two, the baron returned with a young lady on his arm who was nearly the prettiest girl Matthew had ever seen.

"Mr. McCallum . . . Matthew," said Dortmann, beaming with pleasure and obvious pride, "may I present my daughter, Sabina."

"Fräulein von Dortmann," began the assistant ambassador. "Ich bin—"

The baron interrupted with a laugh.

"My daughter speaks better English than I do, Mr. McCallum," he said. "And if I know her, she will be excited for an opportunity to use it!"

"Forgive me."

"Think nothing of it," replied Sabina with a musical laugh. Her English was perfect, just as her father had noted, but yet held a delicate and charming Germanic accent.

"Miss von Dortmann, I am Thaddeus McCallum."

"I am pleased to meet you," she said, extending her hand.

"And this is my son, Matthew."

The two young people shook hands. Neither said a word. Their eyes locked for the briefest of instants, then both looked away.

It had been enough.

They had seen inside, and each knew it.

Before the moment had a chance to prolong itself to the point of becoming awkward, however, the little party of four suddenly became five.

"I say, McCallum," sounded a thickly embroidered and punctilious English accent, "jolly good show these blooming Nazis put on if they stop their Zeig Heils long enough."

"A first-class shindig all right, Worchester," replied the American, laughing. "But you'd better watch what you say—the baron here speaks better English than you do!"




Meet the Author


While studying at Humboldt State University in the early 70’s, Michael Phillips and his wife, Judy, established the One Way Bookshop—a small Christian bookstore catering mainly to other students. Now the bookstore is an important part of the Christian community in Humboldt County, and Phillips is one of the country’s most respected and prolific Christian authors.

Phillips’ long publication history includes over twenty nonfiction books, including biographies of Victorian author George MacDonald and Olympic athleteturnedCongressman Jim Ryun. But he’s best known for his fiction—and is considered one of the major founders of the Christian fiction genre. In the past two decades, Phillips has written more than sixty fiction titles, many of which have been bestsellers. Altogether, his fiction, nonfiction, and devotional writings have sold over seven million copies worldwide.

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Eleventh Hour 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt close to God as I read this book.
KayMKM More than 1 year ago
Michael Phillips has written an outstanding novel of mammoth proportion compared to most Christian fiction of today. The Eleventh Hour is more typical of the 1990’s era of which it was written. My copy has 502 pages of somewhat smaller size font. It is a book written not only for the reader’s enjoyment, but also as an avenue to spiritual growth through reading a wonderful story. There is much wisdom among these pages, so I would recommend taking the time to ponder and consider the words within. The plot is pretty straight forward and follows two aristocratic, German families at the cusp of WWII, as the family members make decisions about supporting Hitler and his racially motivated ideology. It is evident the author did extensive research of the times and the people, which brings authenticity to the storyline as it progresses through the years of 1937-1944. The author’s skillful writing is easily able to pull the reader into the story and transport her/him into that time and place. The main characters are multidimensional and definitely seem like real people—friends or foes. As the book ended, I felt truly connected to my “friends” and look forward to reading the second book in The Secret of the Rose series. I recommend this book to readers who are not looking for a quick read, who are interested in WWII literature and who prefer a story with a spiritual focus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A brilliant historical Christian series that brings depth in understanding to love by family, by friendship & most importantly by God. Michael Phillips doesn't ram  his characters down your tnhroat, they are brought lovingly to you for your purview. The setting is written during an exciting era where adventure is written in a believe able manner. Intrigue, mystery & surprise will be found in this series that I plan to reread again,  I hunger for the message so beautifully entwined within these pages where understanding lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by this author. I bought it more under the premise of it being a love story with over-tones of WWII. I didn't realize how deep it would get into God, life, and faith was a pleasant extra to an already full story. I think anyone interested in history will enjoy this book as it gives the basics (most accurately from what I can tell) but, doesn't get so bogged down in details that it looses the essence of the real story...the story of courage in the face of great evil, strength in times when everything and everyone is against you and the joy of finding love, faith, family and God in our surroundings if we, but look for it. As did Sabina, Matthew, The Baron and others. I think I got into the story and the content more and more as I read this book. As others noted, the characters came alive in this story - even the bad ones - and there were times you could feel the fear, heartache, sadness, passion and love everyone was feeling in the story. They weren't just characters on a page, they came alive for a few hours each time you read a few chapters. I am glad the story does not end and continues in 'A Rose Remembered' which I am 1/2 way through now. So good. I suggest this book for people of all ages, sex and religion. It is generic enough that anyone with a belief will find something of interest. A surprising jewel of a book I did not expect to find and was happy to do so! Happy reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This series is one of my favorite fiction books by one of my favorite fiction authors! I was disappointed when I finished the last book in the series. The setting is historical (pre-World War II and throughout World War II) and takes place in Poland, Germany and the surrounding countries. The book is suspenseful, very involved and inspirational. I appreciate the Christian-based nature of it and think that many Christians could be strengthened by reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book opened up my eyes to that personal relationship to god by looking for him in all living things, such as a rose.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book a week ago, and I'm in the sixth grade. Ever since I've read it, I've been really interested in things about WW II. And it's not just that, it's that it seems soo, real. I mean, it's like Sabina and Matthew really existed, and that they still might've both lived if not for the events in the last book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love historical novels and this is probably one of the best that I have ever read. I love how Mr.Phillips ties in history with personal lives and how his characters grow in God's grace and Bible knowledge every step of the way. Great book for people who would like to read about WWII from the German side!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the book. It took me a while to get into it but once I was I was attached. Taken in World War 2 it makes you feel like a part of that time.