This is an extremely readable book, which is strange, because the story has been written many times. But, this writer has a different slant which makes it new to the reader even though the Nazis have been fodder for many books in the past.
This story starts in 1934 as Hitler’s Third Reich is starting to gear up. Thomas Meier and his father, Nicholas are visiting in their home when his half brother, Dieter, appears dressed in a Nazi uniform. Deiter tells his step father that he doesn’t have long to live and proceeds to put Nicholas in a truck and take him away, and this is the last time that Thomas will see his father. But, before Thomas’ father is taken he gives Thomas a key to a safety deposit box where Nicholas has hidden some valuables. When Thomas sees just which way the wind is blowing, he runs away. Eventually, he educates himself, goes into medicine and changes his name to Johann Schultz.
The action suddenly jumps forward to March, 1945. The war is coming to a close and Johann is working as a doctor in a German field hospital taking care of German soldiers on the eastern front. An injured SS officer is brought in and the man turns out to be Dieter. Readers had to know that this family would cross paths again. Deiter recovers from his wounds and, of course, the brothers recognize each other. But, as Germany is falling into the hands of the Russian troops, Hitler is planning some new horror for the city of Berlin before things are over. Thomas/Johann has to stop Dieter from delivering the brief case that he is taking to Hitler before there is nothing left for the Allies to save in the city of Berlin.
As the Nazis come to power in Germany, a violent argument over a secret key causes young Johann to lose the only parent he has left. Worse, it is his half-brother, Dieter, who commits this horrific act of betrayal. Although their fragile family bonds are irrevocably destroyed, the brothers’ paths are destined to cross again.
Years later, Hitler’s army is on the verge of defeat as Soviet forces cross into Germany. Hiding in plain sight, Johann works to save German lives, secretly despising the Führer to whom Dieter has sworn his allegiance. Yet now it is Dieter who holds a terrible secret that threatens not just Johann and his family, but an entire city unsuspecting of the enemy within. As Germany falls before the Allies’ merciless advance, Johann and Dieter are locked in their own furious battle. Who will be left standing in the wreckage of their homeland? The fate of not only the brothers themselves, but the entire city of Berlin, rests in their hands.