A trip to Germany opens the eyes of four reluctant Australian spies in 1933.
The leaders of the conservative Old Guard group (Miles Off Course, 2017, etc.) are so worried about the rise of Australian fascists, especially Eric Campbell, who’s visiting Germany in hopes of meeting Hitler, that they’ve had two spies traveling with Campbell. When one dies in a mysterious accident, they press wealthy artist Rowland Sinclair, who speaks fluent German and is eminently replaceable, to go to Germany to find a way to thwart Campbell’s plans. Rowly shares his Sydney home with communist artist Clyde Watson Jones, flamboyant Jewish poet Milton Isaacs, and beautiful sculptress and model Edna Higgins, with whom he’s deeply in love but who still treats him as just a friend. Despite the unlikelihood of leftists and Jews visiting Nazi Germany, they insist on going with him. Campbell’s interpreter, Blanshard, is one of the Old Guard's spies and is doing all he can to derail Campbell’s plans, but now that his partner, Peter Bothwell, has drowned while swimming at the lakeside villa belonging to wealthy Alois Richter, who’s competing with Hugo Boss to supply uniforms for the Reich, he needs more help. Rowly, posing as Bothwell's cousin, accepts an invitation for him and his friends to stay at Richter's large Munich home. Their search for answers to Bothwell's possible murder and attempts to get Campbell out of the country before he makes any significant contacts involve the spies in considerable risk in a country where the rule of law does not apply.
The combination of famous historical figures, detailed descriptions of a troubling time, and plenty of action makes for a tale as rousing as it is relevant.