In April 1945, Hitler's Reich is on the verge of extinction. Assaulted by Allied bombs and Soviet shells, ruled by Nazis with nothing to lose, Berlin has become the most dangerous place on earth.
John Russell's son Paul is stationed on the Eastern Front with the German Army, awaiting the Soviets' final onslaught. In Berlin, Russell's girlfriend Effi has been living in disguise, helping fugitives to escape from Germany. With a Jewish orphan to care for, she's trying to outlast the Nazis.
Russell hasn't heard from either of them since fleeing Germany in 1941. He is desperate to find out if they're alive and to protect them from the advancing Red Army. He flies to Moscow, seeking permission to enter Berlin with the Red Army as a journalist, but when the Soviet's arrest him as a spy, things look bleak - until they find a use for him that has him parachuting into Berlin behind German lines.
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"Downing convincingly portrays the final days of the Nazis in power, and his characters are rich enough to warrant a continuation of their stories, even after the war." - Publishers Weekly
"A wide canvas painted with broad strokes. What suspense there is lies in the protagonist's endgame, with atomic secrets up his sleeve and his loved ones' lives in peril." - Kirkus
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David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including five novels featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell. He lives with his wife, an American acupuncturist, in Guildford, England.
John Russell Series to Date
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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