Amazon Featured Book-of-the-Week: “Traitor Comet” by Personne

Paris more than blossomed between World War I and World War II-it was considered by many to be the cultural and artistic capital of the world. Artists and thinkers from every corner of the globe visited or moved there, interacting with each other and developing some of our most exciting modern expression.

In Traitor Comet, not even the troubled young Austrian Geoff Weidmann is immune to the city’s allure. A hermit back home, he unwillingly joins his brother, Franz, and Franz’s French wife in Paris after his father forces the reunion. Though Geoff remains haunted by his violent past-both the Great War and what he might have done against another man on his farm-when he meets the surrealist poets Antonin Artaud and Robert Desnos, his world cracks open. Antonin holds a mirror to Geoff’s experiences, and Geoff ultimately comes to learn from their similarities; Robert is jovial and irreverent, fresh air lightening Geoff’s life. Both men are original, creative thinkers willing to argue against even the founder of the surrealist movement of which they are a part.

Part thrilling mystery, part coming-of-age tale, part page-turning history lesson, Traitor Comet is the first title in a historical novel series based on the real lives of avant-garde writers Antonin Artaud and Robert Desnos. It is also the first book, fiction or nonfiction, to focus on their unique friendship, which ultimately led one man to save the other from the Nazis. This little-known aspect of the lives of these otherwise famous men means that author Personne, an independent journalist, historian, and researcher, has a wealth of information to continue this story-from this introduction to these men who loved free thought and action into a dramatic series about these rebels with a cause.

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Who are these Surrealists, and why would they befriend me?

I shook my head. “There must be someplace… There’s got to be some way for a man to live.”

“Why not look for it here?” Robert Desnos asked. “I’ll help you, and so will Artaud.”

“In Paris?” I glanced around contemptuously. “No offense, but being a man of letters sitting in some café with his blood as pale as his skin—”

“But I agree with you!” Desnos exclaimed, amused. “I feel exactly as you do about academics in tweed, playing pimp with poems. You’ll meet the same problem no matter where you go. The world has been explored. The whole goddamned world has been at war.”

I shrugged. “I know.”

“Instead of walking where the footprints already are, and calling that an adventure—”

“Adventure,” I sneered without intending to, “is that what you call what we did this afternoon? A childish prank, that’s all it was.”

Desnos regarded me as I shoved at the pile of wood with my toe. “So what is your idea of adventure, Weidmann?” he demanded. “Enjoying beautiful women? Exploring Africa? Going to war? Couldn’t war be someone else’s childish prank?”

Earnestly I asked, “What’s your idea of adventure?”

About the Author

The author of this novel series has been working on a way to tell the story of the lives of Antonin Artaud and Robert Desnos for 30 years. Other publications include horror, science fiction, and weird short stories as well as independent journalism. “Personne” has also been an actor, dancer, scholar, librarian, archivist and voice-over artist.

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