German air ace Bruno Stachel first appeared in The Blue Max (1964), Hunter's psychological study of a young alcoholic in the Luftwaffe who wins his country's highest honor while flying in a blackout. Now it is a few years later, and Bruno is unhappily married to a German publisher while bedding his closest friend's mother, the billionairess Baroness von Klingelhof-und-Reimer (""Frau Croesus"")--life is awful, and so Bruno decides to get sober. What's more, he stays that way for the rest of the novel, especially after being approached by the rising Hitler's thuggish sidekick, Martin Bormann, who leads him to a private confab with the F(infinity)hrer-to-be. Will Bruno return to active duty and be the F(infinity)hrer's secret agent in the air ministry? Bruno detests politics and the Nazis, but once back into uniform he finds himself a post with air intelligence and, through wonderful underhandedness (Bruno is a villainously happy egoist and scoundrel), he rapidly advances in rank. Eventually the Nazis take over, and Bruno becomes G"ring's private spy. And he is awarded the country's newest highest honor: The Blood Order of the Munich Uprising (for having drunkenly saved G"ring's life during a street rally.) But Bormann knows that Bruno has helped a Jew escape from prison, and so Bruno's world begins to collapse. . . . Bruno is a nervy, appealing antihero, and his caustic humor toward the Nazis gives the novel a strong shine of relentless insight, with several outright bellylaughs during the melodrama. A solid entry for those who prefer their Hitler & Company evocations more gritty than fanciful.