A smart-aleck American flyer and a cynical Russian officer, separated from their warfronts, become embroiled in plot and counterplot in World War II Switzerland, where the famous national neutrality seems to be so much fiction.
The flying skills of American Lieutenant Grant and his navigator Sergeant McNeil have brought them safely out of German air space, where they took numerous Nazi bullets, to a Swiss mountain top. By rights, they should be out of harm’s way. They’re not completely unscathed—McNeil being fairly banged up—but they’re alive and eager to tell their superiors about the amazing propeller-less Nazi plane they saw on their way to the crash landing. It was fast as blazes, but McNeil got some photographs of it, and Grant intends to get those pictures back to England as soon as he hooks up with the American embassy. Unfortunately, his American liaison seems more interested in accommodating Swiss laws than helping him out, leaving Grant in the hands of Nazi sympathizers who throw him in a nasty prison. Meanwhile, Russian Major Eduard Akimov, jerked from the battle of Stalingrad, has joined his diplomat father, who is in Switzerland for secret negotiations with the Nazis. The Soviets want the Major to track down his ex-wife Magda and her evidence of Swiss/German collaboration, information also sought by Anna Fay, the widow of Lt. Grant’s late comrade-in-arms. Anna is one of a small but gutsy band of anti-German Swiss nationals. Grant escapes his jailers, finds Anna and her clever young son Christoph, and sets on a parallel course with Akimov in the hunt for Magda. Their heels are dogged by a sadistic German who has imprisoned Magda’s daughter and will not hesitate to snatch Christoph. All parties are convinced that they hold the outcome of the war in their hands, and they may be right.
Ross (Double Cross Bind, 2005) makes good use of unfamiliar history in his second fast-moving thriller.