Seventeen Moments of Spring by Yulian Semyonov
The 'spring' of Julian Semyonov's spy thriller is the hope of peace returning to the world as the setting is Berlin, in February 1945. Hitler - increasingly out of touch with reality - hides in his bunker while his disillusioned armies are being pushed back on all fronts. It is the SS and the dreaded Gestapo who dominate Germany. The Nazi leaders, knowing that the end is at hand, struggle against each other for power - making their escape plans and negotiating secretly to split the Allies in order to save their own skins. Against this background, von Stirlitz, a high-ranking SS officer and a spy for the Russians, is given the assignment to involve himself in these negotiations - knowing that they could blow his cover.