8th September 1943, and Claudette Blum and her father are among thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing over the Alps towards Italy. For the Italians have broken with Hitler and sued for peace, and here the Blums hope to find safety at last. But overnight the Nazis seize control and the country becomes a battleground - for the occupying German forces, the advancing allies, partisans, Jews in hiding and ordinary Italians simply trying to survive. Against this dramatic backdrop and through the lives of a multitude of beautifully drawn characters - a mercurial resistance leader, a priest, an Italian rabbi and his family, and a disillusioned Wehrmacht doctor - Mary Doria Russell tells the little-known story of those who sought refuge in Italy during the final phase of the Second World War, and of those who risked all to help them. It is a powerful, profoundly moving novel.