About the Book:
The Last Checkmate
Readers of Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz and watchers of The Queen’s Gambit won’t
want to miss this amazing debut set during World War II. A young Polish resistance worker,
imprisoned in Auschwitz as a political prisoner, plays chess in exchange for her life, and in doing so
fights to bring the man who destroyed her family to justice.
Maria Florkowska is many things: daughter, avid chess player, and, as a member of the Polish
underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, a young woman brave beyond her
years. Captured by the Gestapo, she is imprisoned in Auschwitz, but while her family is sent to their
deaths, she is spared. Realizing her ability to play chess, the sadistic camp deputy, Karl Fritzsch,
decides to use her as a chess opponent to entertain the camp guards. However, once he tires of
exploiting her skills, he has every intention of killing her.
Befriended by a Catholic priest, Maria attempts to overcome her grief, vows to avenge the murder of
her family, and plays for her life. For four grueling years, her strategy is simple: Live. Fight. Survive.
By cleverly provoking Fritzsch’s volatile nature in front of his superiors, Maria intends to orchestrate
his downfall. Only then will she have a chance to evade the fate awaiting her and see him punished
for his wickedness.
As she carries out her plan and the war nears its end, she challenges her former nemesis to one final
game, certain to end in life or death, in failure or justice. If Maria can bear to face Fritzsch—and her
past—one last time.
What if you had a talent, would you exploit it to survive? When you survive would you seek revenge?
This is a book that will appeal to all lovers of World War II fiction.
You may say to yourself not another Auschwitz book , yes it is but you will enjoy this book. as it is a book that stands on its own merits. A story that will enthrall reader and keep then turning pages at a rate of knots.
Maria was caught during one of her resistance jobs, and her entire family was punished and sent to Auschwitz.
Her family was murdered when they arrived, but Maria was sent to the camp simply because she had slowed up to look at something. She wishes she would have been murdered too.
The camp officer, Fritzsch, was the most evil person she had ever known. He enjoyed hurting people both physically and mentally. This officer also found out Maria played chess, and he made her play chess against other prisoners and himself.
Playing chess helped her stay alive even though she wishes she were dead.
This book lays bare the horrors of life in a concentration and what people will do to survive.
A very well researched novel that will make readers want to read more of this time and place.
Cabriella Saab has written a well researched and outstanding debut. Highly recommended.
Gabriella Saab graduated from Mississippi
State University with a bachelor of business
administration in marketing and now lives in
her hometown of Mobile, Alabama, where
she works as a barre instructor. While
researching The Last Checkmate, she
traveled to Warsaw and Auschwitz to dig
deeper into the setting and the experiences
of those who lived there. The Last
Checkmate is her first novel.