This is the first in the Alan Furst series of novels dealing with intrigue and espionage in and around WWII in Europe. This book spans nearly ten Years and follows Nikolai Stovaniev a Bulgarian who is recruited by the the NKVD. It helps having some knowledge of European history of the 1930’s and 40’s to make sense of some the large themes in the story. It is a story of survival in the face of betrayal. The spectre of the Stalinist purges looms in the background and is a reminder of the brutality of that regime.
All in all a great read, a little like LeCarre but a generation earlier. It has the all twists and turns that you would expect in an espionage novel.