WW2 Books : Hitler's Boat by Pierre Turgeon

About the Book

Hitler’s Boat Cogito, 2020

Here is an astonishing love story that unfolds against the backdrop of a big and small story. A troubling book from beginning to end. Berlin, 1940. Seduced by a German woman and Hitler’s promise to guarantee Quebec’s independence, a Montreal journalist lends his voice to Nazi propaganda. Forty years later, Christophe Chénier discovers that he is the son of a singular man who spared Churchill’s life and played a decisive role in the Führer’s fate. Traitor or hero? Who was the enigmatic Lizbeth, his mother? The answer may lie on board the Helgoland, the armoured sailing ship that was to rescue the Führer from his enemies, now moored in the Bay of Chaleur. Christophe Chénier embarks on a perilous journey in search of the dead who gave him life. A fascinating delirium. A dazzling book.

Hitler’s Boat

A Novel
by Pierre Turgeon

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Coming Soon on Apple Books

I have decided to stop waiting for the right moment to talk because it will most likely never come. I will also skip the inspiration. I await no pardon, nor from God neither from my master, only the peace that comes from a sincere confession. After six years of war, I declare armistice and I sign my surrender without conditions, in Berlin, behind the broken windows of the Empire Broadcasting Company (Reichsrundfunk), all the Büro Concordia services having already fled for Dresde, which was broadcasting in India, Caledonia, France, Norway, and French Canada. Dismantled telex, typewriters, and boxes of documents clutter the entrance hall.

Arms filled with scenarios, folders, and gramophone records, the secretaries hurry towards the trucks and cars that are waiting in the yard. Looking for colleagues that I used to see every day down the halls or in the bunker so full of confidence, I push open familiar doors to see but one dust-covered chair and to feel a cool breeze coming in through a broken window.

The violence of the Soviet artillery forced us, sergeant von Oven and I, to hide in the basement. There is no more coal left to heat up the chicory; we are smoking our last Juno. And now, since the generator has run out of fuel again, Von Oven is cursing as he goes out to siphon diesel from the destroyed Panzer. So, I have a few hours alone ahead of me. I use this time to commit modest sabotage, despite it being deserving of the firing squad, so that my story may live on; I am writing on the back of these documents I was given to microfilm, in German, to better camouflage this administrative Teutonic prose from which I hope to extract my own story.

Perhaps my text will make it out of the surrounded city. No one knows who will carry these documents out of the bunker after we will have photographed them in the last remaining operational studio in Berlin.  Requisitioned by the Chancellery!


Born in Quebec, October 9, 1947 – The novelist and essayist Pierre Turgeon obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1967. In 1969, at the age of twenty-two, already a journalist at Perspectives and literary critic at Radio-Canada, Pierre Turgeon creates the literary review L’Illettré with Victor-Lévy Beaulieu. The same year, he published his first novel, Sweet Poison. Several works followed 22 titles in total: novels, essays, plays, film scripts, and historical works. These include The First Person and The Radissonia, both of which win the Governor General’s Award for novel and essay respectively.

In 1975, he founded the Quinze publishing house, which he chaired until 1978. There he published numerous authors, including Marie-Claire Blais, Gérard Bessette, Jacques Godbout, Yves Thériault, Jacques Hébert, and Hubert Aquin, before becoming deputy director of the Presses of the University of Montreal (PUM) in 1978. Then, from 1979 to 1982, he directed the editions of the Sogides group, the most important French-language publisher in America. (Les Éditions de l’Homme, Le Jour, Les Quinze). He also publishes software, launching one of the first French text editors (Ultratexte) and the first French spell-checking program (Hugo). Editor-in-chief of the literary review Liberté from 1987 to 1998, he edited controversial issues on the October Crisis and the Oka Crisis, as well as on various political and cultural subjects.

In 1999, he created Trait d’union, a publishing house devoted to poetry, essays, and celebrity biographies, works signed among others by René Lévesque, Pierre Godin, Micheline Lachance, Margaret Atwood. He is the only Canadian publisher to have seen one of his books, a biography of Michael Jackson : Unmasked, reach number one on the New York Times bestseller list. In the meantime, the author continues to be prolific, and in 2000, he published a history of Canada, in collaboration with Don Gilmor, that won the Ex-Libris prize, awarded by the Association of Canadian Booksellers with the mention of Best History of Canada to date.

Today, he is working on the creation of a publishing site entirely devoted to the distribution of English and French eBooks: Cogito, which will go live in early 2021.

The novelty of Hitler’s Boat is twofold. On the one hand, the retro elements which are opposed in the story are German and Quebecois, on the other hand, they do not animate a drama but a spy fantasy. The playfulness carried by the style serves as a counterpoint to the depth of the theme and gives the novel its own originality. – Gabrielle Pascal, Québec Français.

These are perfect pages in terms of style, in terms of verisimilitude too, whose limits are always those of writing. The plot, the relationships between the characters, the confused images of history and fiction, all of this is so dense that I don’t see what the author could have added or subtracted from it. -Réginald Martel, La Presse.