In 1940, a ship captain rescues four mysterious Germans from a stormy sea, and receives an odd golden emblem as a token of gratitude for taking them to Portugal. The book then starts unraveling the events that lead to this, revealing a story of love and revenge during the time when Nazis seized power in Germany.
This novel has examples of:
- Arranged Marriage: For business purposes, Alys' father has arranged her to marry Jürgen. This never comes to pass firstly by her running from her home, then secondly by being pregnant for Paul's son.
- Bed Trick: Jürgen is the result of his mother Brunhilda sleeping with Paul's Father in the dark, pretending to be her sister Ilse.
- Broken Pedestal Paul comes to learn that his late father, whom he thought to be a righteous and criminally wronged invidual, was a murderer and a thief. This revelation comes to him after a decade of searching for justice for him, which leaves him with great regret.
- Dead Person Impersonation: After killing Jürgen, Paul puts on his appearance to rescue Alys from the Dachau contrentation camp.
- Driven to Suicide: Eduard von Schroder returns home from World War I with three of his limbs missing, and decides to end his life with a pistol instead of living on as a cripple who's shunned by his family.
- Eye Scream:
- When Jürgen and his friends attack Paul long after he and his mother is evicted from the von Schroeder household, an accident happens and Jürgen's right eye gets stabbed with a knife.
- Paul has his own right eye stabbed out in order to mimic Jürgen as best as he can so that he can infiltrate Dachau and get Alys out of there.
- Eyepatch of Power: Jürgen covers his empty right eyesocket with an eyepatch.
- Historical Domain Character: Since Jürgen joins the Nazi party and becomes a prominent member in the SS, he gets to meet Adolf Hitler, Reinhard Heydrich and Adolf Eichmann.
- Knife Fight: To "properly" get revenge on Paul for losing his eye, Jürgen arranges the two of them to meet in a knife fight to death.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In her dying moments, Paul's mother reveals to him that his cousin Jürgen is actually his brother.
- The Von Trope Family: Von Schroeders are an aristocratic family, who, with an exception with Eduard, are all bad.