cover image The Devil Laughs Again

The Devil Laughs Again

Regine Deforges. Lyle Stuart, $18.95 (351pp) ISBN 978-0-8184-0473-3

This last book of Deforges's WW II trilogy ( The Blue Bicycle ; Lea ) continues the adventures of headstrong Lea Delmas through France's Liberation, 1944-45. Violence is rife between the Resistanceitself split into factions but encouraged by the radio voice of de Gaulleand the Gestapo, aided by sympathizers of the collaborationist Petain. Neighbors denounce one another; Lea's uncle, a priest, slays a traitor; the Germans torch Montillac, Lea'a ancestral home. Many of Lea's loved ones die brutally, some lynched as `` collabos '' when popular fury turns against the French who consorted with the enemy. Lea's sister Sabine is publicly tonsured for her marriage to a German officer. An old playmate, the winegrower Mathias, joins Hitler's Waffen SS , since there is nothing left for him at home. The most harrowing and riveting novel of the trilogy, this should be treasured by readers with an interest in history. (Dec.)