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Plot - The Burning Eagle

Updated: 1 day ago

black-and-white image depicting a group of soldiers advancing weapons in hand while in front of them a large explosion raises flames to the sky.

Historical, adventure, war, drama | Nazi Germany

Main characters

The main character, Captain Friedrich Weber, is a loyal and honest German army officer who has doubts about the justice of his country's actions during the war. Friedrich is brave, endowed with a strong sense of duty, and tormented by his conscience.

The owner of the brothel, Heinrich, is an ambiguous and unscrupulous man who has prospered through his connections with high-ranking German army officers. Initially, he presents himself as a possible antagonist.

Other main characters include: the mysterious loan shark, Wilhelm, whose true identity remains unknown for much of the story; and Benjamin, a Jewish survivor who seeks revenge for the death of his family.

The call to adventure

As the German army is in retreat and the Russians advance, Friedrich is tasked with investigating the death of Colonel Klaus von Hagen, who was found murdered in a small-town hangout. Although Friedrich is reluctant to accept the case, he feels a responsibility to uncover the truth and, at the same time, hopes to redeem himself for his actions during the war.

The conflict

Friedrich plunges into the investigation and soon faces a number of obstacles and challenges. The first challenge is figuring out who might have had motive to kill Colonel von Hagen. Suspects include Heinrich, the owner of the brothel, who may have had financial or power problems with the colonel; Wilhelm, the loan shark, who may have sought revenge for an unpaid debt; and Benjamin, the surviving Jew, who may have acted to avenge his exterminated family.

The second challenge for Friedrich is the historical context in which the investigation takes place: with the German army in retreat and the Russians advancing, time to solve the case is limited. In addition, the atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion makes it difficult for Friedrich to gather reliable information and distinguish between friends and enemies.

The climax of the story occurs when Friedrich discovers that the real murderer is unexpectedly one of his superiors, General Otto Schmidt, who had killed Colonel von Hagen to conceal a series of war crimes and embezzlements that could have jeopardized his career and his own life.

The key to the plot

In the novel's finale, Friedrich confronts General Schmidt and, despite the danger posed by the general and the critical situation of the war, manages to gather enough evidence to frame him. The general is arrested and Friedrich becomes a silent hero, albeit aware of the moral complexity of the situation. The resolution of the story sees Friedrich confront his past actions and his role in the conflict.

Although he has solved the case and brought General Schmidt to justice, Friedrich understands that his journey of redemption has just begun. The most significant change in Friedrich is his growing awareness of the moral nuances involved in war and his desire to seek truth and justice despite adverse circumstances. At the end of the novel, Friedrich decides to desert the German army and disappear.


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