"The huntsman in him scented preyhis eyes now sought to meet hers, which sometimes briefly returned his gazeas she looked past him, but never gave a clear, outright answer. He thought he also detected the trace of a smile beginning to play around her mouth now and then, but none of that was certain, and its very uncertainty aroused him"
A story of haunting beauty, The Burning Secret, by Stefan Zweig is considered by many to be one of his greatest.
The story is set in Austria in the 1920s. Three main players, twelve-year-old Edgar and his mother are holidaying alone at the Austrian resort of Semmering when their close-knit bond is interrupted by the arrival of the gregarious pleasure-seeking Baron,
It is quite clear that the Baron is a lady-killer; the type of young man who enjoys the thrill of the chasea man always on the alert for the next `erotic opportunity', a seasoned huntsman who takes great pleasure in stalking his prey before going in for the kill.
Soon, twelve-year-old Edgar is befriended by the suave, mysterious baron. But before long, his adored friend heartlessly brushes him aside and turns his seductive attentions to his beautiful mother.
The boy's jealousy and feelings of betrayal become uncontrollable.
STEFAN ZWEIG (1881-1942) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. Author of numerous works of fiction, including Forgotten Dreams, and Amok, Zweig, at the height of his career, in the 1920s and 1930s, was one of the most popular writers in the world.