This assemblage of anecdotes targets the Sicherdienstheit, the Nazi Party's security and intelligence service, from the period of the takeover to the 1939 attempt on Hitler's life in Munich. The two principal characters are the ""fanatic and specialist in violence"" Alfred Naujocks, and Walter Schellenberg, the ""cultured assassin."" Naujocks' murder of a former Roehm accomplice, the discovery of the Horvath Czech-Russian spy ring, the personal capture of two British agents by Schellenberg and Naujocks, etc. are either fairly well known or, in fact, not very interesting. Brissaud digs into the psychology of the operatives, but his own fascination with young, urbane Schellenberg, then dying of cancer, forbids objectivity, so mat Brissaud even puts the Nuremburg war criminal verdict in quotes. And the book's concern with intelligence intrigues per se casts a rather favorable light on the SD as opposed to the horrid Gestapo and the demonic SS. Apart from Brissaud's excesses in reconstructing conversations, other intelligence buffs might seriously dispute whether the Tukachevsky affair precipitated the Red Army purge; and few historians believe it was Goebbels, not Hitler, who ordered the 1934 ""Night of the Long Knives."" Too many capers, too little analysis.