The author of The Mill on the Po speculates in this novel on the state of Joseph Stalin's ""other"" son (of an earlier marriage), a soldier who presumably was killed during the war. In Bacchelli's fictional account Captain Jacob Djugashvili and his comrade have been captured and brought to a German POW camp in East Prussia, where it is learned incredulously that Jacob is the son of Stalin. He neither attempts to hide his identity nor use it to his advantage, preferring to remain relatively anonymous, as he has all his life. But the Germans feel he can be used as propaganda and he therefore receives special treatment in the camp -- which arouses the intense hatred of the other Russian prisoners, who regard the favored ones as traitors. During a mass escape, Jacob, who has long since given up resisting, one way or the other, dies, his secret with him. It is a plausible story, and interesting chiefly for its insights into the political mind.