A Retake On War: Ruya 2

A Retake on War is the second in a three-part series (following Broken Rhapsody and followed by Csardas), an epic spanning four generations of a family as they live in various locations in Italy, Hungary, Turkey and France.




London, 2008

Ruya has finished writing her book, which is now being made into a movie.

She is still a bitter young woman, still angry, still scared to love and still unable to paint.
During the shoot, she finds herself in a tempestuous relationship with Paul.

Paul is a very well-known French actor, handsome, arrogant, a man of sports and volatile pastimes, a womaniser (or so presumes Ruya).

(Please click on the images for an excerpt from the book)


They are shooting the second act of Ruya's novel: a retake on the war years focusing on Ruya’s great uncle Karoly.



Karoly is a handsome young man, noble by birth, communist by heart, an engineer by formation and an artist by instinct. A rebellious free spirit, he leaves a career, his responsibilities to his family and his hometown Budapest behind, to lead a bohemian life in Paris with Ada, the love of his life, his girlfriend and eventually his wife.

When Germany invades France and Nazis march down the Champs-Elysees, Karoly and Ada decide to return to Hungary.

In Budapest, they find a city swarming with spies, resistance fighters, hunters and helpers of Jews, betrayers and heroes. Karoly and his friends join the resistance against the Nazis.

Janos: Karoly's best friend from childhood. A Jewish communist, a daredevil and a patriot. Desperately in love with Karoly's sister Alex since their youth. Hates Rudi for personal reasons; in fact, hates life in general.

Rudi: Karoly's friend and the ex-fiancé of his sister Alex. Jewish by birth, Christian by conversion. His influential contacts help him evade deportation. He works for a resistance group although Janos thinks he is making it up to hide his cowardice and his collaboration with the Nazis. He is often nowhere to be found.

During the Second World War, Karoly risks  his life by helping the Jews: he hides them in the basement of his house, saves them from trains destinied to concentration camps and from the hands of the death squads along the Danube. He saves the lives of perhaps thousands of people.

Budapest is finally liberated, but Karoly, like the rest of the Hungarians, is sceptical about his country’s future in communism, fearing that the Russians might be the new occupiers.

As his beloved Budapest lies in ruins, he watches with a heavy heart.



During the shooting of the movie at various locations, including London and Budapest, Ruya struggles between her desire to love and her fear to open her heart to Paul, who makes life very difficult for her, mostly distant and often absent. Ruya fails to understand that he is at a turning point in his life.


As they finish filming the second act, Ruya fears that her relationship with Paul has ended.
She wishes she could draw up a happy ending for herself just like she did for her great-grandmother Alex in Csardas, the third and final part of her book. Her hopes, though, are swiftly thinning.


Budapest, 2009



Read a summary of Broken Rhapsody in pictures

Read a summary of Csardas in pictures