With all we know of Hitler & Company, it's not easy to become steamed with outrage to learn here--in a lively but much-padded novelization of actual 1938 events--that Hitler, Goering, and Heydrich sullied the good names of Germany's two top army men in order to smooth the way for total SS control of the military. But Kirst goes at this minor scandal with passion, piecing together the plot from various fragmented viewpoints, calling the framing of upright Commander-in-Chief von Fritsch (as a homosexual) and vulnerable Marshal von Blomberg (as the husband of a prostitute) this ""orgy of destruction,"" this ""pernicious campaign,"" this ""tidal wave of filth."" Certainly it wasn't very nice--and there are flickers of genuine pathos as von Blomberg defends his slightly shopworn young bride, as von Fritsch refuses to defend his sexual nature, to ""demean myself by stooping to their level."" And some of the Hitler-Goering histrionics are ironically creepy. But Kirst probably should have been less faithful to history, should have concentrated more fully on one of the many semi-heroes here; von Fritsch and von Blomberg are no Thomas Mores--nor is a lawyer who half-heartedly tries to warn the victims much of a character. Only an unduly affectionate respect for the pre-Hitler German military could turn this reconstruction of a sordid incident into high drama; and, on sheer suspense terms, Kirst's Nazi-watching fans will find this far less compelling than either The Night of the Generals or The Nights of the Long Knives.