This work is a great character study which also captures a taste of life in Nazi Germany at the beginning of 1939. It follows the evermore complicated situation of John Russell, a British-born journalist with an American mother, his German ex-wife and 12 year old son being raised in German society, along with his German girlfriend. He is a veteran of the Great War but has no real allegiance to Britain or America and despises the Nazi regime; he is also a former Communist sympathizer (but none of this is ever fully explained or explored). As events start to invade his own social circle, he is reluctantly drawn into a world of intrigue after he is approached by an old Soviet contact. In his professional life he is privy to a lot of information, but has chosen to suppress the dark side of the Nazi repressions in order to maintain his legal status as a foreign correspondent in order to maintain contact with his son. As he explains to an idealistic American colleague, he is one of 75 million people trying to keep their heads down.
Excellent read about pre-WWII Berlin. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
An excellent, well-crafted LeCarre-style thriller. Very immersive with good characters and plot and very well researched (sometimes to the point of distraction). Not exactly riveting and the author loses steam from time to time but still very engaging and worth reading.
Not bad, but not Alan Furst, either in terms of characters, plotting, or historical atmosphere of the European pre-war era. Try him!
This is gripping historical fiction -- a must-read for anyone wanting to see pre-war Germany.
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