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A movie star faces the nightmare of living in Nazi Germany in this second volume of a planned trilogy.

Clara Vine is an Anglo-German actress who has thus far succeeded in hiding the fact that she's of partially Jewish heritage. Her English lover, Leo Quinn, a passport control officer in Berlin, recruited her to spy "on the private life of the Third Reich" (The Scent of Secrets, 2015), and then shortly afterward, he disappeared. Clara travels to London in 1939 to attend a ball she's been invited to, given by a man she's never met, and finds that she's been summoned by a newly hatched espionage agency. British intelligence asks her to try to discover whether Hitler is planning to make a deal with the Soviets—and warns her to forget the missing Leo, who she refuses to believe is dead. Despite the assurances of the Führer, many Germans know that war is near. Back in Berlin, Clara—who's afraid her own apartment is being watched—is staying at a friend’s house near the Faith and Beauty Society headquarters, where Aryan girls are groomed to marry high-ranking Nazis. Clara is deeply disturbed when Lottie Franke, the most beautiful, talented, and unorthodox girl in the training program, is found murdered nearby. As an actress, Clara knows all the top-ranked Nazis and their wives and has opportunities to meet foreign reporters and travel abroad. On a trip to Paris for a photo shoot, she mistakes the handsome, wealthy Conrad Adler for Leo even though she’d already met the charismatic Obersturmbannführer at a party in Germany. She’s upset by both his pursuit of her and her physical response to him. On her return to Germany, she starts shooting a film under the direction of Leni Riefenstahl, looks for Lottie’s killer at the behest of the girl’s best friend, and tries to find out Hitler’s plans for war. The paranoid pressure-cooker atmosphere of Berlin forces her to make dangerous decisions every day.

Darkly brooding horror hangs over Germany; an irresistible page-turner packed with historical detail and told from a most unusual perspective.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-553-39386-6
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2016


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