The chronicle of journalist John Russell begins in Nazi Berlin a week
before Pearl Harbor in this, the third novel in the series [with a
fourth, “Potsdam Station,” due out momentarily in hardcover]. The
descriptions of Gestapo tactics and the beginnings of the “final
solution” are eerily chilling.
Russell is ostensibly a correspondent for a San Francisco newspaper,
allowing the author to describe the machinations of the Nazi censors
and propaganda machine with vivid detail, while his protagonist acts
as a go-between between German and American intelligence agents,
carrying messages back and forth. He even obtains proof that the
Gestapo is removing Jews from Berlin and planning to gas them, even
though he can hardly publish the story.
As conditions worsen, Russell has to find a way to get out of Germany,
hoping to bring his long-time girlfriend with him. It is a tale of
terror with a thrill-a-page pace. Descriptions of wartime Berlin and
the police state remind us of a period many may have forgotten, but of
which we, and they, should perhaps be reminded.