Having met people who lived through the Occupation, one is aware of the uncertainties they experienced. None of those I have met, however, had a job as impossible as the police and judiciary. The conflicts between Commissaire Lannes' duty to France and that to the State, as well as his difficulties in protecting his family and friends, are very well brought out.
Massie's characters - quite a small cast compared with the tout-Paris Balzac builds in the Comédie Humaine - manage to create a credible city of Bordeaux: provincial, often stuck-up, sometimes brave and sometimes not so brave. And the credibility of these characters lends an air of authenticity to Lannes' self-examination.
One or two reviewers have complained that the pace is too slow; I disagree, in fact I rather wish Massie had decided to write a tetralogy - having dealt with the fall of France in the first volume, and got up to the invasion of Russia here, he could presumably have wrapped another two cases around the occupation of the Zone Libre and the Liberation.
I look forward, in any case, to the third volume.