Le Vent des 


de Marek Halter

ISBN 222109123X
Paperback, 357 pages
Published April 2001 by Éditions Robert Laffont (Paris, France)
, reprinted April 2003 by Pocket (France)

English edition: The Wind of the Khazars, translated by Michael Bernard, hardcover, ISBN 1592640281, published October 2003 by The Toby Press (New Milford, CT, USA and London, England, UK); Reissued as a paperback, ISBN 159264158X, in January 2006 by The Toby Press.

Spanish edition: LOS JÁZAROS. La leyenda de los caballeros de Sión, translated by Vicky Santolaria, ISBN 84-350-6054-3, published April 1, 2002 by Edhasa (Barcelona, Spain)

Catalan edition: El vent dels khàzars, translated by Teresa Porredon, ISBN 84-8437-413-0, published July 2002 by Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain)

Portuguese edition: O Vento dos Khazares, published 2002 by Bizâncio (Lisbon, Portugal); reissued by Bizâncio in 2012 with ISBN 978-972-53-0147

Italian edition: Il vento dei Chazary, translated by Eliane Nortey, ISBN 8820032996, published 2002 by Sperling e Kupfer Editori (Italy)

Turkish edition: Hazar Rüzgâri, translated by Nuriye Yiğitler, ISBN 975-289-040-7, published November 2002 by Everest Yayinlari (Turkey)

Polish edition: Chazarski wiatr, translated by Krystyna Szezynska-Mackowiak, published 2003 by Prószynski i S-ka (Warsaw, Poland)

German edition: Der Messias Code, translated by Manfred Flügge, published November 2005 by Aufbau Tb Verlag (Berlin, Germany)

Dans la lignée des «Mystères de Jérusalem», mêlant le roman historique et le thriller contemporain, Marek Halter nous offre une grande épopée et une superbe histoire d'amour.

Au Xe siècle, le jeune Isaac est envoyé au royaume des Khazars, entre la Volga et le Caucase, par le grand rabbin de Cordoue, dont l'espoir est que ce nouveau royaume juif annonce la venue du messie tant espéré. Au terme d'un périlleux voyage, Isaac découvrira l'amour mais aussi la fin de son espérance messianique...

Au XXe siècle, un écrivain, Marc Sofer, enquête sur les Khazars. Ses recherches le conduisent à Bakou ou il découvre une grotte qui contient les derniers vestiges des Khazars. Recouvrant une immense réserve de pétrole, cette grotte est aussi au cœur d'une bataille très contemporaine. Comme le jeune Isaac dix siècles plus tôt, Sofer y trouvera l'amour en même temps que la fin de ses espérances.

L'épopée des Khazars a fasciné certains écrivains, dont Arthur Koestler, mais aucun romancier n'avait jusqu'à présent restitué avec une telle force la vie quotidienne, les amours et les enjeux politiques de ce peuple qui, pendant plusieurs siècles, domina tout le trafic marchand de l'Est occidental. On retrouve dans ce roman aux multiples facettes le rythme puissamment soutenu, les héros sympathiques et pittoresques, les situations amoureuses et les aventures des plus grands romans de Marek Halter.

In the lineage of his "Mysteries of Jerusalem", mingling historical novel with contemporary thriller, Marek Halter offers us a large epic and a superb love story. In the 10th century, the young Isaac is sent to the Kingdom of the Khazars, between the Volga and the Caucasus, by the head rabbi of Cordoba, whose hope is that this new Jewish kingdom announces the arrival of the long-awaited messiah. At the end of a perilous journey, Isaac will discover love but also the end of his messianic hope. In the 20th century, a novelist, Marc Sofer, investigates the Khazars after he is given an ancient Khazarian silver coin by a mysterious visitor. His research brings him to Baku, Azerbaijan where he discovers an underground cave that contains the last vestiges of the Khazars. Containing an immense reserve of oil, this underground cave is also related to a very contemporary battle. As with the young Isaac ten centuries earlier, Sofer will find love there at the same time as the end of his expectations. The epic of the Khazars has fascinated some writers, including Arthur Koestler, but no novelist had restored until now with such strength the daily life, the lovelives, and the political stakes of this people who, during several centuries, dominated the whole commercial trade of the western East. One finds in this novel multiple facets - the powerfully steady rhythm, the likeable and picturesque heroes, the romantic situations, and the adventures - that one enjoys in Marek Halter's greatest novels.

Casualmente, un escritor judío, Marc Sofer, descubre una pista de un pueblo perdido, los jázaros, y de los vestigios que de ellos quedan tras la persecuciones estalinistas y el holocaustro. Simultáneamente, salta la noticia del atentado de un grupo autodenominado "Resurgir Jázaro" contra una petrolera rusa, y Sofer viaja al Cáucaso, donde realiza sorprendentes descubrimientos. Paralelamente, la novela narra el ocaso de Jazaria. En el año 956, el sabio cordobés Isaac Ben Élizer es enviado al encuentro de los Jázaros, un pueblo convertido al judaísmo, con su propio estado. La cultura jázara es uno de los misterios más sugestivos que nos ha legado la historia europea. Apenas nos han llegado rastros de un estado que a principios del siglo VIII se unió a turcos y bizantinos para luchas contra los persas y en el siglo VIII detuvo el embate de la invasión árabe. En algún momento del siglo IX, Jazaria se convirtió al judaísmo, por lo que fue el primer estado judío, mil años antes que Israel.

All'epoca in cui l'impero di Bisanzio comincia a lambire i confini russi, sulle montagne del Caucaso il saggio re chazaro Bulan, stretto fra il cristianesimo di Costantino e l'islamismo del califfo di Baghdad, converte il proprio popolo all'ebraismo, ritardando l'annientamento da parte di Bisanzio. Sulle tracce della civiltà chazara lo scrittore Marc Sofer si reca in Azerbaigian alla ricerca di una leggendaria sinagoga. Qui viene coinvolto in un intrigo politico economico che lo porterà a scoprire i loschi traffici dei giganti del petrolio.


"...'The Wind of the Khazars,' just released in an English translation, is French author Marek Halter's sweeping exploration of the enigmatic Kingdom of the Khazars. ... The timeless beauty of the Caucasus...is the backdrop for the complex plots that the author skillfully weaves together. Although at times challenging to follow, Halter's fast-moving style carries the reader along many diverse adventures toward an inspiring conclusion. The book is rich in period detail and descriptive passages, reflecting the extensive research the author did on the history of the Khazars. ... By 1016 C.E. the final waves of Rus and Asian conquerors drove the Khazars into the mountains and west into Eastern Europe where they mixed with the local populations. All that remained was the legend that the Khazari rulers had created secret sanctuaries for the preservation of Jewish worship in the mountain caverns that dotted their kingdom. ... Disputes over historical identity and ancestral claims give current relevance to Halter's work. New bits of physical, linguistic and ethnographic information about the Khazars have given rise to fierce controversies. ... This haunting and unforgettable tale of beauty and devotion in a harsh landscape is a compelling story of the power that once was the Khazars." - Cecilia Rothschild in Aufbau - The Transatlantic Jewish Paper (October 30, 2003)

"The French Jewish writer Marek Halter has written a powerful novel centering on the Khazars.... Sofer, the fictional novelist, begins to imagine the same 10th-century story that Halter, the actual novelist, has been telling, and they converge in a sort of joint authorship. ... If it sounds like this story indulges in some staples of historical fiction and romance, it does, with elements of a thriller thrown in toward the end. ... The wonder is that none of this ever seriously detracts from the book's literary integrity. This is a deeply serious work; if you're not convinced by its beginning or middle, you'll be convinced by the end. ... It's fanciful, thrillerish, a bit Hollywoodish - and totally compelling on a symbolic level. ... An intense Jewish nationalism emerges in this book, presumably connected to its author's traumatic experiences as a five-year-old, when his family escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto. Both the Khazars of old and the little band of New Khazars are Jews devoted to preserving transcendent values, forced to struggle for their lives against brutal, ignorant aggressors. ... But however one interprets it, this is an exceptionally rich and potent novel." - P. David Hornik, in The Jerusalem Post (January 22, 2004)

"This hard-to-put-down story alternates mellifluously from the final days of the legendary Kingdom of the Khazars to modern attempts to manipulate their hidden but suddenly not-so-secret treasures - invaluable manuscripts, coins and Judaica. ... The book was originally published in French. One is always cautious when reading books in translation. But the English rendering is superb, particularly in describing the Georgian countryside and the Khazars' ancient mountain hideout. Historical fiction's ultimate test comes at a story's end; the better the work, the stronger the desire to contemplate reality vs. the author's imagination. Mr. Halter does this well, making one seek a postscript on the history of the real Khazars." - Neil Rubin, in Baltimore Jewish Times (August 6, 2004)

"Au Xe siècle de notre ère, à l'époque où Charlemagne se fait couronner empereur d'Occident, où l'Empire chrétien de Byzance étend ses conquêtes jusqu'à la Russie, où le grand calife de Bagdad propage la foi islamique, quelque part entre les monts du Caucase et l'embouchure de la Volga, un royaume entier se convertit au judaïsme: c'est le début de l'extraordinaire aventure des Khazars, un peuple d'origine turkmène, issu des Huns occidentaux. À son apogée, du VIIe au Xe siècles, l'Empire khazar joua un rôle capital qui contribua sensiblement à façonner la destinée de l'Europe médiévale - et moderne par conséquent. Le célèbre écrivain juif d'origine polonaise, Marek Halter, relate brillamment l'épopée de ce peuple puissant et exotique dans un livre passionnant, Le Vent des Khazars.... Un grand roman historique doublé d'un thriller politico-mystique très prenant qu'on ne lâche pas un instant, tant les intrigues se mêlent entre le passé et le présent.... L'histoire insolite du peuple khazar fascine Marek Halter depuis qu'il était un enfant.... Les Khazars ont inspiré plusieurs éminents chercheurs et historiens, dont le journaliste anglais Arthur Koestler, qui leur a consacré un ouvrage remarquable (La Treizième Tribu, aux Éditions Calmann-Lévy, 1976), et les historiens Toynbee, Dunlop, Polak... Quelques preuves manifestes de la culture khazare existent encore en Occident. «Par exemple, au Christ Church College d'Oxford, en Angleterre, on peut consulter la correspondance en hébreu, datant de 960, que s'échangèrent le roi khazar Joseph et le chef de la communauté juive de Cordoue, Hazdaï Ibn Shaprut, rappelle Marek Halter. De larges extraits de ces missives, écrites sur du papier alors que l'Occident ne connaissait pas encore le parchemin, ont survécu au temps. J'ai vu et touché de mes propres mains ces lettres vieilles de plus de 1000 ans. Ce fut un moment magique et enivrant!» ....Marek Halter a réuni dans Le Vent des Khazars, avec une grande dextérité littéraire, tous les ingrédients nécessaires pour subjuguer un lecteur: un roman historique mêlé à un thriller contemporain haletant, une très belle histoire d'amour, des réflexions politiques perspicaces sur les guerres tribales et les convoitises géopolitiques qui révulsent depuis la fin des années quatre-vingt les anciennes républiques de l'Union soviétique... La rencontre avec le passé s'opère sur un fond d'intrigue policière. En des chapitres savamment alternés, Marek Halter fait revivre les vaillants héros d'il y a un millénaire -la charmante et résolue princesse khazare Attex, son frère Joseph, un prince revêche qu'on initie à l'art de la guerre, le jeune Isaac, envoyè au royaume des Khazars par le grand rabbin de Cordoue pour remettre un message d'espoir...- et ceux d'aujourd'hui, dont le principal est Marc Sofer, un romancier à succès en panne de sujet qui se laisse entraîner sur les traces de ce peuple méconnu et fascinant.... Le tout donne un superbe récit d'aventures très réussi." - Elias Levy, in La Presse (Quebec) (19 août 2001)
Translation: "In the 10th century AD, after Charlemagne had been crowned emperor of West, when the Christian Empire of the Byzantine Empire spread its conquests to Russia, when the large caliph of Baghdad propagated the Islamic faith, somewhere between the Caucasus Mountains and the mouth of the Volga a whole realm was converted to Judaism: it is the beginning of the extraordinary adventure of Khazars, a people of Turkmen origin stemming from western Huns. At its peak, in the 8th to the 10th centuries, the Khazar Empire played a major role which considerably shaped the fate of medieval Europe - and consequently of modern Europe. The famous Jewish writer of Polish origin, Marek Halter, splendidly tells the epic of these powerful and exotic people in a fascinating book, Le Vent des Khazars.... A big historical novel doubled by a very fascinating politico-mystic thriller which we can not stop reading for even one moment, since the intrigues involve both the past and the present.... The unusual history of the Khazar people has fascinated Marek Halter since he was a child.... The Khazars inspired several eminent researchers and historians, including the English journalist Arthur Koestler, who dedicated to them a remarkable work (The Thirteenth Tribe, published [in France] by Calmann-Lévy in 1976), and the historians Toynbee, Dunlop, Poliak... Some obvious remnants of Khazar culture still exist in the West.... 'For example, at the Christ Church College of Oxford, England, we can consult the Hebrew correspondences dated 960 that were exchanged between Khazar king Joseph and the leader of the Jewish community of Cordoba [Spain], Hasday ibn Shaprut,' recalls Marek Halter. 'Wide extracts of these letters, written on paper while the West still did not know parchment, survived over the years. I saw and touched with my own hands these old letters from more than a thousand years ago. It was a magic and intoxicating moment!'.... Marek Halter gathered together in Le Vent des Khazars, with a great amount of literary dexterity, all the necessary ingredients to interest a reader: a historical novel mixed with a breathless contemporary thriller, a very beautiful history of love, acute political reflections on the tribal wars and the geopolitical greed which has counterirritated since the end of the 1980s in the former Soviet republics... The meeting with the past takes place on the bottom of police intrigue. In chapters skillfully alternated, Marek Halter revives again the brave heroes of a millennium ago - charming and resolved Khazar princess Attex, her brother Joseph (a surly prince whom we introduce to the art of war), the young Isaac (sent to the realm of the Khazars by the great rabbi of Cordoba to extend a message of hope)... And those [characters of the] present time, among whom the main character is Marc Sofer, a novelist with success from organizing a subject which brought him onto the tracks of these underestimated and fascinating people.... The whole [book] presents a magnificent [and] very successful story of adventures."

"Roman policier, roman d'aventure, roman historique, histoire d'amour, d'espionnage, de guerre... Ecriture enlevée, récit simple d'événements plutôt compliqués, Marek Halter ne s'en cache pas : 'Je veux que mon livre soit lu par le plus grand nombre. Les gens lisent pour le plaisir, mais aussi pour apprendre quelque chose.' Et ils en apprendront des choses sur cette 'quatrième puissance du monde au VIIe siècle' qui se convertit au judaïsme pour ne dépendre ni de la chrétienté ni de l'islam. [...] Mais, chez Marek Halter, la profondeur fait bon ménage avec la légèreté, et on reste presque sur sa faim en refermant le livre, tant l'histoire des Khazars est passionnante, mystérieuse, symboliquement forte." - Sara Matthieu, in Elle France (9 avril 2001)
Translation: "Detective novel, romance of adventure, historical novel, history of love, of spying, of war... Writing removed, simple narration of rather complicated events, Marek Halter himself doesn't conceal [his intention]: 'I want my book to be read by the greatest number [of people]. People read for pleasure, but also to learn something.' And it will teach some things about this 'fourth power of the world in the 7th century' that converted to Judaism so as to remain independent of Christendom and of the Islamic [caliphate]. [...] But, for Marek Halter, depth makes good family with lightness, and one remains almost as hungry [for more knowledge] upon closing the book again, as the history of the Khazars is fascinating, mysterious, symbolically strong."

"Personne ne se souvient du pays des Khazars, province perdue, reculée dans les montagnes du Caucase. Pourtant, là, au Xe siècle, s'est formée la 'Treizième Tribu'. On l'appelle aussi les Juifs des montagnes. Ils seraient les premiers Juifs de l'Exode, parlant une langue à l'origine inconnue, le tath, dont la mission était d'apporter la paix à tous les Juifs de l'univers. Personne pour se souvenir d'eux, excepté quelques vieux rabbins ou quelques rats de bibliothèque. Un jour, à Bruxelles, un professeur de l'université est approché par un homme à la mine patibulaire qui lui remet une pièce de monnaie. Après expertise, il s'avère que la pièce est authentique et unique : aucun doute possible, elle provient du Royaume des Khazars ! Quelques jours plus tard, un attentat à la bombe détruit quatre stations de pompage pétrolier dans la baie de Bakou. Un groupe, jusqu'alors inconnu des services de renseignements internationaux, revendique l'attentat. Il se fait appelé le 'Renouveau khazar'. En deux temps, trois mouvements, Marek Halter vous embarque dans une intrigue trépidante qui se développe en parallèle et en écho aux Xe et XXe siècles. Poursuivant une réflexion qui lui est propre sur l'identité juive, Marek Halter a choisi d'en faire des romans. Après La Mémoire d'Abraham et Les Mystères de Jérusalem, Le Vent des Khazars vient compléter avec délice et brio cette interrogation sur les fondements de la judaïté et sur l'histoire de l'Occident judéo-chrétien." - Denis Gombert, Amazon.fr
Translation: "No one remembers the country of the Khazars, lost country, remote in the mountains of the Caucasus. Yet, there, in the 10th century, was formed the 'thirteenth tribe'. Some also call them the Mountain Jews. They would be the first Jews of the exodus, speaking a language of unknown/strange origin, Tat, whose mission was to bring peace to all Jews worldwide. No one remembers them, except a few old rabbis or some bookworms. One day, in Brussels [Belgium], a professor of the university is approached by a man with an unhappy/sinister appearance who hands him a coin. After appraisal, it turns out that the piece is authentic and unique: without a doubt, it comes from the Kingdom of the Khazars! Some days later, a bomb attempt destroys 4 oil stations pumping in the bay of Baku. A group, unknown until then, of international information services, claim the attempt. It calls itself the "Khazar Revival". In two times, three movements, Marek Halter engages you in a nervous/terror-stricken intrigue that develops itself in parallel and in echo in the 10th and 20th centuries. Continuing a reflection about Jewish identity that is suited to him, Marek Halter chose to remark on this theme in some of his novels. After "The Memory of Abraham" and "The Mysteries of Jerusalem", [this latest novel] "Le Vent des Khazars" ("The Wind of the Khazars") comes full of delight and spirit that examines the foundations of Jewry and the history of the Judeo-Christian West."

"Pour quelle étrange raison un peuple d'origine turque, alors en pleine expansion, choisit-il de se convertir à la religion juive? C'est ce mystère, resté unique dans l'histoire du monde, qui vient d'inspirer à Marek Halter son nouveau roman, Le Vent des Khazars (Robert Laffont)... De nos jours, rares sont encore ceux qui connaissent le nom des Khazars et leur fabuleux destin. C'est pour les sauver d'un oubli définitif que Marek Halter publie aujourd'hui Le Vent des Khazars, un extraordinaire thriller mâtiné d'histoire d'amour, courant sur un millénaire! L'histoire est, en effet, double: au cœur de l'empire khazar, d'abord, au 10e siècle, quelques années avant la défaite; en l'an 2000, ensuite, avec l'écrivain Marc Sofer - double presque parfait de Marek Halter - qui, pour les beaux yeux d'une rousse flamboyante, part en Azerbaïdjan, à Bakou, sur les traces des descendants des Khazars, ceux que l'on appelle aujourd'hui les Juifs des montagnes..." - Charles Ledent, in La Meuse (2001)
Translation: "For what strange reason did this people of Turkic extraction, whose nation was then in full expansion, choose to convert to the Jewish religion? It is this mystery, singular in the history of the world, which inspired Marek Halter for his new novel, Le Vent des Khazars (Robert Laffont)... Nowadays, hardly anyone knows the name of the Khazars and about their fabulous destiny. It is to preserve their memory that Marek Halter publishes Le Vent des Khazars today, extraordinary as a thriller mixed with a history of love, running over one millennium! The history is, indeed, double: initially, with the decline of the Khazar Empire, in the 10th century, a few years before its defeat; then, in the year 2000, with the writer Marc Sofer - an almost perfect double of Marek Halter - who, for the beautiful eyes of a blazing redhead, ventures to Baku, Azerbaijan, on the hunt for descendants of Khazars, those whom are called Mountain Jews today."

"Son dernier combat: faire découvrir l'extraordinaire aventure d'un peuple nomade venu des steppes de l'Orient... Qui sont ces «barbares de Khazars» évoqués par Pouchkine dans l'un de ses poèmes? Dans l'espoir de répondre à cette question, le romancier part sur les traces de ces guerriers du Moyen Age dont l'empire domina tout le sud de la Russie... Certains avancent que ces guerriers seraient les ancêtres des juifs ashkénazes. Les Russes, en revanche, tendent à minimiser l'importance de ce peuple médiéval. Les chercheurs ont de beaux jours devant eux... En restituant ce pan méconnu de l'histoire juive, Marek Halter apporte sa pierre à l'édifice. Son intrigue mêle passé et présent dans un souci constant d'enseignement dont la littérature, selon lui, ne devrait jamais se départir. Une démarche que l'on retrouve dans chacun de ses livres et qui tend à éclairer le présent d'après les leçons de l'Histoire. Celle des Khazars, qui fut patiemment effacée au fil des siècles et que relatent encore quelques manuscrits défraîchis, est particulièrement édifiante. Le romancier, avec toute la palette de son talent, en a restitué les couleurs d'origine. Son héros lui ressemble à s'y méprendre. Marc Sofer est écrivain et collectionne les succès. Malgré les désillusions, ce révolté impénitent veut croire en dépit de tout qu' «écrire peut changer la face du monde et surtout apporter la paix». En découvrant l'existence de cet empire disparu, il sait qu'il tient le sujet de son nouveau roman. Sofer, alias Halter, aime les causes justes. Il a trouvé là un sujet à sa mesure. L'histoire envoûtante d'une Atlantide juive qui sommeillait dans l'oubli depuis des siècles." - Alexandra Lemasson, in L'Express (7 juin, 2001)
Translation: "His [Halter's] latest challenge: to explore the extraordinary adventure of wandering people who came from the steppes of the East. Who are the 'Khazar barbarians' mentioned by Pushkin in one of his poems? Hoping to answer this queston, the novelist travels to seek the traces of these warriors of the Middle Ages whose empire dominated all of southern Russia... Some suggest that these warriors could be ancestors of Ashkenazi Jews. The Russians, on the other hand, tend to minimize the importance of this medieval people. The researchers have beautiful days in front of them... By restoring this ignored aspect of Jewish history, Marek Halter adds his contribution to the building. His intrigue mixes past with present in a constant concern with teaching, which literature, according to him, should never be separated from. A method that one finds in each of his books and which tends to clarify the present according to the lessons of history. That of the Khazars, which was gradually erased over the course of centuries and yet still comes alive through some manuscripts, is particularly edifying. The novelist, with all the palette of his talent, restored the colors of origin. It is no mistake that his [Halter's] hero [in the novel] resembles him. Marc Sofer is a writer and collects successes. In spite of disillusionments and disappointments, this unrepentant rebel wants to believe in spite of everything that "to write can change the face of the world and especially bring about peace". By discovering the existence of this disappeared empire, he knew that he had the subject of his new novel. Sofer, alias Halter, supports just causes. So he found a subject with its measure. The spellbinding history of a Jewish Atlantis that slumbered in neglect for centuries."

"Une autre particularité caractérise la Khazarie, ce royaume du Moyen Age qui relie la ville de Kiev à la mer d'Aral en englobant les monts Warsan: ce peuple du Caucase est le seul dans l'histoire des religions à avoir librement adopté le judaïsme avant d'être balayé par les Russes. Se lance sur les traces de si surprenants convertis, dont peu de personnes ont conservé la mémoire au XXIe siècle, l'écrivain Marc Sofer (double à peine déguisé de Marek Halter) qui paraît en mal d'inspiration.... Par l'alternance dans les deux premiers tiers du livre du témoignage historique du mode de vie des Khazars et des péripéties qu'affronte Marc Sofer, Marek Halter produit un récit fort attrayant. La dimension thriller historique est remarquablement documentée, sans friser l'essai manqué pour autant, tandis que l'effet de miroir entre passé et présent, réalité et fiction, fonctionne à plein régime. Si bien que lors du croisement entre les personnages de l'écrivain Sofer et Sofer le personnage du romancier Marek Halter, on ne sait plus où on en est. Délicieuse incertitude entretenue alors par un scénario musclé qui met aux prises Sofer avec les dirigeants d'un consortium pétrolier européen basé à Bakou. De la belle ouvrage d'un bout à l'autre donc, pour qui aspire à se perdre dans les méandres tumultueux aussi bien de l'histoire que de la création littéraire. Et à percevoir comment, de 'l'ombre des mots' peut jaillir la lumière auréolant 'la mémoire des Khazars'." - Frédéric Grolleau, Canalweb.fr (2 mai 2001)
Translation: "A peculiarity characterizes Khazaria, a realm of the Middle Ages that stretched from the city of Kiev to the Aral Sea and included the Warsan Mountains: this people of the Caucasus are the only one in the history of religion to have freely adopted Judaism, before being conquered by the Russians. Hot on the tracks of these surprising converts, who are known to so few in the [beginning of the] 21st century, the writer Marc Sofer (a hardly-disguised double of Marek Halter), who appears there en mal d'inspiration... By alternating in the first two-thirds of the book between the historical testimony of the way of life of the Khazars and the events that face Marc Sofer, Marek Halter produces a very attractive story. The dimension of historical thriller is strikingly informed without detracting from the attempt, whereas the effect of a mirror between past and present, reality and fiction, works at full speed. So much so that during the crossing between the personality of the writer Sofer and Sofer the character of the novelist Marek Halter, one doesn't know anymore which one is there. Delicious uncertainty is maintained then by a powerful scenario which puts in the grips of Sofer with the leaders of a European oil consortium based in Baku. A beautiful work throughout, this is for those who long to get lost in tempestuous meanders as well as history as a literary creation. And to understand how 'the shadow of the words' can spring to life 'the memory of the Khazars'."

"...seductive, racy, full of passion, fury and love, simply great." - Le Point

"With a lot of love for each of his characters, Marek Halter deftly mixes history and fiction. It's a great historical novel on disillusion, ideas, and two eras that prove to be more similar than one might have thought." - Le Figaro

"La situación de Oriente Próximo se acerca más a nosotros a través de un viaje por el pasado, de los siglos VIII al XV, gracias al libro que acaba de publicar el escritor y presidente del Instituto Internacional de Cultura Judía, Marek Halter. Bajo el título "Los jázaros. La leyenda de los Caballeros de Sión", en su versión castellana, el libro sirve a su autor de reivindicación de la escritura y la literatura para expresar, gracias a la palabra, los problemas de la sociedad. "Hay mucho que decir", comenta Halter. Y él lo hace a través de su personaje principal, Marc Sofer, un escritor que investiga sobre los jázaros (arios judios). A partir de ahí, la novela se convierte en toda una intriga política." - Cristina Cogulludo, Satiria España (2002)
Translation: "The situation of the Near East approaches us more through a trip to the past, to the 8th through the 15th centuries, thanks to the book by the writer and president of the International Institute of Jewish Culture, Marek Halter, that has just been published. Under the title 'The Khazars. The legend of the horsemen of Zion', in its Castilian version, the book serves to vindicate the author's ability to express, through literature, the problems of society. 'There is much to say,' Halter comments. And he does it through his main character, Marc Sofer, a writer who investigates the Khazars (White Jews). From there, the novel becomes a political intrigue."

Marek Halter, an Ashkenazic born in Warsaw, Poland in January 1936, is a well-known French novelist. He and his family escaped the Warsaw Ghetto and were saved by Poles. They arrived in France in 1950. Marek's first book was "Le Fou et les Rois" (1976). Some of his other books include "La Mémoire d'Abraham" (1983), "Les Fils d'Abraham" (1989), and "Les Mystères de Jérusalem" (1999). Some of his books have been translated into English. He calls for peace between Jews and Arabs, and good relations between Jews and Catholics, and also takes an interest in demonstrating that some European non-Jews risked their own lives to save the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. Research on the latter theme culminated in the book "Stories of Deliverance: Speaking With Men and Women Who Rescued Jews from the Holocaust" (English edition, 1997). His autobiography is titled "Pourquoi je suis Juif" ("Why I Am Jewish") and he also worked on a film titled "Tsedek" ("The Righteous").


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Glénat released a graphic novel version of Halter's Le Vent des Khazars on May 29, 2013 with color cartoons illustrated by Federico Nardo and colored by Antoine Quaresma based on a scenario by Pierre Makyo. The graphic novel is divided into volume 1 and volume 2.

Interviews with Marek Halter:
In the Belgian publication La Meuse, Charles Ledent briefly interviewed Marek and Marek says he thinks this is one of his more lasting books.
In the Quebec publication La Presse, Elias Levy interviewed Marek and Marek indicates that a hallmark of the success of the Khazars had been tolerance - an important lesson for today's world.

Novels of related interest:
Gentlemen of the Road
The Jewish Kingdom of Kuzar
Haham Kral Hazarlı Davut (The Rabbi King, David of Khazaria)
Dictionary of the Khazars
Fictional Literature about the Khazars

Non-fiction books of related interest:
The Jews of Khazaria
The Khazars: A Judeo-Turkish Empire on the Steppes, 7th-11th Centuries AD
The Kuzari: In Defense of the Despised Faith

Essays of related interest:
Histoire des Khazars: la nation juive de Russie et d'Ukraine

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    Disclosures: (1) This site is a compensated affiliate, (2) The writer of this webpage received a free copy of the English language edition's uncorrected proof from the publisher.