This was the book that I chose based entirely on it's cover. For whatever reason, the peacock really spoke to me. This is the story of a man, Jack, whose duty it is after the end of World War 2 to guard the infamous Treasure Train in Budapest. Inside the train, wealth and treasure that was taken from the Jews by the Nazis. Jack falls in love with a girl who is broken inside. She can't love him the way he wants and eventually he returns home with a single talisman from the train, a golden pendent with a peacock on it from the girls hometown as a reminder.
On his death bed, Jack feels guilty about having the peacock and asks his grand- daughter, Natalie, to try and return it to it's rightful owner. The rest of the story is about Natalie's quest and what she finds along the way.
This was a really interesting story about a part of history that I really didn't know a lot about. I, of course, knew that the Nazi's had taken treasure and possessions from the Jews but I didn't really realize that they weren't the only ones. Even our allies were guilty. I also didn't know about the political power struggle to gain ownership of the treasure nor of the struggle of militarized jews to have the nation state of Israel created.
I loved the symbolism in this book - peacocks being a symbol of disaster and bad luck. As the history of the pendant is traced back through untold atrocities.... the symbol is always there. It's a deep book and certainly not a quick read but very interesting. I'm glad I read it. 4 out of 5 stars.