ISBN-13: 9781492181361 / Angielski / Miękka / 2013 / 684 str.
One of the most controversial issues still resounding from WW II relates to Switzerland's role as a non-combatant. As the novel opens, Hitler has had Austria and Poland for breakfast, made a quick snack of Norway, and now wants Switzerland for lunch believing that since it was part of the Holy Roman Empire--First Reich--it should necessarily be part of the Third. During its darkest hour Switzerland is surrounded by aggressive fascist armies--its politicians quavering and its people beginning to lose hope of retaining their freedom. Switzerland's only general, Henri Guisan, steps into this miasma of growing despair. For him the only way to save the country is to shift most of the Swiss Army to the Alps, leaving the main cities at the mercy of the Panzers. His one hope-learn the details of the attack in advance. Enter James St. Lawrence O'Toole, charming prodigal son of an Irish peer who has sold off his considerable art collection to support his profligate ways. O'Toole is persuaded to pose as an "art consultant" to Herman Goring as the Reichsmarschall competes with Hitler to amass the best collection of European masterpieces. The Irishman works through the American O.S.S. spy in Switzerland, Allan Dulles, in an attempt to learn the details of the anticipated German invasion of Switzerland. As he insinuates himself with Goring and begins to gain the Reichsmarschall's trust, he crosses paths with Elfriede Sholtz, a German resistance fighter and sister of the celebrated author Erich Maria Remarque, now exiled in Switzerland; Joseph Schmidt, the popular Jewish tenor, who escapes to Switzerland only to be put in an internment camp; and Lothar Krebs, a young Swiss rifleman called on to help defend his country against a Nazi invasion. O'Toole is exposed when he tries to pass off a fake Vermeer painting to Goring and finds himself imprisoned with the others. This not so much a novel of good versus evil or right versus wrong, but of complicated values and complex issues. Neither a defense of Swiss efforts to maintain their vaunted neutrality nor a blatant condemnation of the nation and their self-serving actions, rather it tells the story of individuals struggling for survival as 4M Swiss surrounded by 20M Nazis prepare for the inevitable invasion."