This book has ruined me. The beginning of the end starts when the timelines get closer together and closer to the main timeline of the present siege of Saint-Malo. Werner is still feeling guilty for not reporting the radio broadcasts of Etienne but he is also tired and scarred from all of the other reports and deaths. He decides to watch the house and that is where he meets Marie-Laure. While Werner sees her she doesn't notice him. Another who notices her is Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel, a greedy and horrible Nazi who has been searching for the Sea of Flames diamond that was entrusted to the LeBlancs ever since the beginning of the book. He has determined it was them because all of the other red herrings with fake diamonds were taken care of or didn't have the original. The climax probably comes during the siege when Marie is hiding in the attic because von Rumpel has planted himself in the house employing one of his waiting torture techniques. Werner and Volkheimer were trapped in the basement of a bombed hotel converted AA location. They are on the verge of giving up hope with a rifle nearby but they are mentally saved by Marie-Laure when she risks her life to broadcast music and other recordings. They eventually decide to use a grenade to blow a hole in the rubble because they have nothing to lose and this actually works. Once out Werner decides to go to the LeBlanc house and upon arrival confronts von Rumpel. After a tense moment that ends in Werner lunging for a nearby rifle and shooting von Rumpel, he goes to the wardrobe to explain to Marie that he isn't here to hurt her, they spend some brief time in which Werner tells Marie that he and Jutta used to listen to Marie's grandfathers recordings. The conclusion of the book involves the saddest part in my opinion, Werner is captured and it seems that he will be alright until one night he starts to lose his mind, walking out of his tent and into a minefield which as assumed is not great for survival. The book ends in the 1970s when all of the characters are older. After a visit from Volkheimer to deliver Werners belongings, Jutta and her son Max travels to France to meet this girl that Werner met along his travels. She finds Marie-Laure and similarly to when Werner met her they catch up in a very circular and oddly satisfying.
Now for the sequel in which Jutta's son Max who has a reminiscent curiosity grows up:
When Max was 12 Jutta gave him Werner's old notebook. Many of the questions addressed in the journal Max also wondered and some he had even already answered. Jutta couldn't believe how similar he was and sometimes it was too much to handle, especially when Max got to radios and how they worked. At first he showed little interest in it as radios weren't a big part of his life at this point, but when he studied the diagrams and got more curious he realized how interesting these strange contraptions were and Jutta realized how difficult it would be to hear about this piece of engineering that was as soft as a linen sheet but as painful as a stab. Max's curiosity branched out to other places that Werner's didn't as a child. He found interest in his fathers train models, in creating small models of towns and of birds or sealife. Well into his old age Max held this curiosity and became great like those who came before him, those kids forced to be adults in the midst of the most chaos the world had ever seen.