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.
Set in early 1945, Downing's gripping fourth novel featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell (after Stettin Station) finds Russell in the Soviet Union. As the Russians approach Berlin, Russell devotes his energies to trying to reunite with his loved ones his 18-year-old son, Paul, a member of the German army on the Eastern Front, and his lover, Effi Koenen, a former actress who now works to smuggle Jews to safety. Russell attempts to persuade the Russians that he should accompany them into Berlin, but they suspect that he's an American spy sent to sell them on the idea that the U.S. and Britain have no interest in the German capital. Meanwhile, the Nazis pick up a group of refugees Effi helped to escape, raising the prospect that one of them might disclose her involvement. 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.
Sad but great
If you are interested in this time period then this is a great book to read.