The Übermensch in search of his soul

David Khara: La trilogie Bleiberg (English title: 1. The Bleiberg Project 2. The Shiro Project 3. The Morgenstern Project) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ISBN 978-2290149942 The plot is quickly told: Aytan Morgenstern is a Mossad agent tasked to hunt down war criminals. In the first part of the Bleiberg trilogy he  sets out to triumph over a international criminal organisation that facilitated in the past the rise of Hitler and in the Nazis’ wake gruesome medical experiments undertaken by the SS to create the Aryan Übermensch.

Agent Morg’s personal fate is linked to those experiments, the link is a key element of his determination to fight his mysterious opponent. His enemy – the Consortium – however is not a shadow of the past, it determines the present too because it controls pharmaceutical companies and research labs and under th guidance of Viktor Bleiberg it tries to manipulate genetically a substantial part of the earth’ population – the Bleiberg project is at the center of the first part of David Khara’s riveting trilogy.

The second part – the Shiro Project – has a related background, the horrifying Japanese experiments in Manchuria during World War II. Nonetheless it follows a different line. Morgenstern has to team up with a killer of the Consortium. Biological attacks shake Moscow and the Czech Republic and threaten the Consortium’s economic interests. The virus used by the attackers came from a lab controlled by the Consortium and, being a criminal organisation, the mess requires an in-house solution. It kidnaps a person dear to the Mossad agent and blackmails him into cooperation. This framework allows the French writer to sketch the complex personality of Aytan Morgenstern.

While the first novel is abundant with violent action, fast-paced and a descent into Dante’s inferno recreated my mankind, the second novel is more subtle, interesting psychological and philosophical questions are integral part of the plot and emphasize the idea of the writer to see what mankind can learn from the past. It also tries to cast a definition of heroism very different of what you might imagine from a standard Mossad agent character.

The last volume – The Morgenstern Project – picks up a thread of the first volume: overcoming man’s natural physical and psychic limitations through technology. Transhumanism is the keyword – fusing man’s body with sophisticated technology to produce super-humans. Aytan Morgenstern – victim and benefactor of Bleiberg’s experiments – is being chased by people interested in his exceptional strength, intelligence and fighting capacities. The Consortium, the CIA, the Pentagon – all the usual suspects are involved and again a lot of action is seen e.g. in down-town New York. The head of the Consortium – Cypher – is the mastermind behind a diabolical plan that Morgenstern is beginning to decrypt, and the agent is more resolved than ever to neutralize the threat emanating from the Consortium

Morgenstern gets a lot of help in the last volume of the trilogy : two former colleagues, two characters from the first volume and a mole inside the Consortium. Furthermore the Mossad officially has broken of all contact to the “former agent Morg” to give him additional operational leeway. All seems to work according to the plan – but whose plan? Is Morgenstern being manipulated? If so, to what end? I will not spoil anyone’s pleasure by giving away the key to the mystery and let you enjoy the 983 pages up to the very last.

While Khara definitely wrote a work of fiction, the three volumes touch some very real issues: Man’s ambition to rule over others. Man’s temptation to abuse of its power. Man’s greed and vanity leading to the abolition of moral values. Man’s ability to inflict harm and man’s ability to suffer. Repentance is a thought that came to my mind several times while I read this page-turner. At times I had to get away from the fascinating plots to ponder the implications of man’s many failings in the world of today. In 1881, the German composer Max Bruch set to music a jewish prayer of repentance: Kol Nidrei, the Adagio for Cello, Op. 47.

A light is sown for the repenting sinner