This is a wonderful and gripping piece of historical fiction set in 1938 Europe during the time of the Munich Crisis. Hugh Legat, a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serves at 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain; and Paul von Hartmann who is on the staff of the German Foreign Office, who is secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s, but have not been in contact since. Their language skills are vital to the Prime Minister and the Fuhrer, respectively and so they meet in Munich. Set against the background of actual historical events, Robert Harris tells a story that is certainly a fascinating, engaging, and ultimately thought- provoking. Whether Chamberlain was a truly astute politician and negotiator for peace, or a weak, misguided leader, naïve in his attempts to find peace with Germany, clearly remains open to debate. However, if the real events that occurred in 1938 are even remotely like those described in this book, I have to admit have much more sympathy for Neville Chamberlain. A must-read for anyone interested in this time.

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