by David Downing
The prequel to David Downing's bestselling Station series introduces John Russell, an Englishman with a political past who must keep his head down as the Nazis solidify their power.
February 27, 1933. In this stunning prequel to the John Russell espionage novels, the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin is set ablaze. It's just a month after Hitler's inauguration as Chancellor of Germany, and the Nazis use the torching to justify a campaign of terror against their political opponents. John Russell's recent separation from his wife threatens his right to reside in Germany and any meaningful relationship with his six-year-old son, Paul. He has just secured work as a crime reporter for a Berlin newspaper, and the crimes which he has to report--the gruesome murder of a rent boy, the hit-and-run death of a professional genealogist, the suspicious disappearance of a Nazi-supporting celebrity fortune-teller--are increasingly entangled in the wider nightmare engulfing Germany.
Each new investigation carries the risk of Russell's falling foul of the authorities, at a time when the rule of law has completely vanished, and the Nazis are running scores of pop-up detention centers, complete with torture chambers, in every corner of Berlin.