Books: Avenger of the Faith

THE HEIRS OF CAIN by Abraham Rothberg. 319 pages. Putnam. $5.95.

Violence has become the idiom of the times. The spy novel, once devoted to the exploitation of intrigue and suspense, is more and more becoming a vehicle by which serious writers explore the wretched state of man and the cruelty of the human heart. In this bitter, brilliantly drawn book, Abraham Rothberg, historian, journalist and teacher, adopts an espionage mission as the framework for probing the holocaust that enveloped European Jewry after Hitler's rise to power.

Rothberg's anti-hero is Jacob Nissim, a veritable Aryan in appearance—blond, crew cut, blue eyes, short straight...

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