In this book Robert Harris describes vividly a world in which the Nazis won the Second World War and all of their grand schemes came to fruition. His attention to detail is what makes this work so well and feel so real. The Berlin of the sixties he describes is the one set out in Albert Speer, the Nazi architect's plans. The documents Zavi discovers are based on, and in some cases are, actual documents from the time, and the atmosphere and setting are just right because of it.
This is a tautly plotted, suspenseful thriller set in the Berlin of 1964, just as the Americans are due to enter into a period of detente with the Germans under the leadership of Joseph Kennedy. Zavi, the hero, a disillusioned cop with a broken marriage behind him, is called to investigate the death of what turns out to be a previously high ranking Nazi official from the early days of National Socialism. As he gets deeper into the investigation it becomes clear that this death is not as straightforward a matter as he previously suspected, and intrigue piles upon intrigue, resulting in a beautifully complex plot in which it becomes clear that Zavi is on shaky ground and knowing who to trust will make the difference between life and death.