Conrad de Lancey is an idealistic, young Englishman with a German mother. Disillusioned by his experiences fighting with the International Brigade in Spain, he moves to Germany to become a writer. Berlin in 1938 is a dangerous place, with the Gestapo ruthlessly suppressing any opposition to Hitler’s plans for military expansion, and ultimately war. De Lancey meets up with Theo von Hertenberg, an old friend from Oxford who is now a soldier serving in Army Intelligence. He becomes involved with a plot to remove Hitler from power in a desperate attempt to prevent seemingly inevitable war. To complicate matters he becomes romantically involved with Anneliese, who is half-Jewish. Can ideals and love survive the attentions of the Gestapo – and the procrastination and muddle headedness of British politics?
Taut and strongly plotted the story brings alive life in Berlin in 1938; the cruelty and anti Semitism of the Third Reich, as well as the resistance by both military and civilian opposition who were anxious to avoid a conflict with France and Britain. Plots, paranoia, evil villains and a racing plot, everything you want in a thriller – what’s not to like? Recommended.