Stephen Fry is joining Baillie Gifford-winner Philippe Sands to narrate his new book, The Ratline.
After appearing in the BBC Sounds podcast of the same name, Fry stars alongside actress Katja Riemann and Sands himself on the audio edition, which will be launched simultaneously in print and e-book on 23rd April by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, part of the Orion Publishing Group. To celebrate publication, Fry will also join Sands on stage at an exclusive London event hosted by The How To Academy on 28th April.
Described as "part history, part memoir and part detective story", The Ratline is billed as "a true story of spies, Cold War, love, bishops, sex and lies". Seeking answers to the questions of Wächter’s youngest child, Horst, the book is an account of what happened to leading SS Brigadesführer Otto von Wächter – indicted in 1946 for "mass murder" and held responsible for the death of members of Sands’ own family – who became a Nazi fugitive, and the love between him and his wife, Charlotte, who continued to write regularly to each other while he was on the run.
The format for the audio edition will see Sands narrate his and Horst Wächter’s contemporary investigations into his father’s legacy and death, while Fry will narrate the story of Otto’s life. Meanwhile Riemann will narrate extracts from the writings of Charlotte Wächter, Otto’s wife.
Sands said: "Stephen has a wonderful talent for bringing history to life, and I’m delighted we’ll be collaborating again on The Ratline. There’s something so unsettling to have such a problematic character’s letters read by a voice you trust. The substance of what’s being read is brutal, and Stephen’s voice so reassuring: it is that disconnect I sought, and am thrilled to have found. I’m delighted too that Katja is on board; having worked with her for many years on the performance piece of 'East West Street', her voice suited the tone of this book perfectly."
Paul Stark, senior audio manager at Orion, added: "The Ratline is an extraordinary book, and we’re delighted to be able to bring in such a fantastic cast of readers for the audio edition – having Philippe narrating his investigation alongside the vocal talents of Stephen and Katja will give the audio edition a wonderful extra dimension."