Norway is a destroyed country at the end of World War II. After a seemingly endless five-year German occupation, Norwegians have lost more than imports and exports, everyday goods and services, communications and social events. Norway lost more than 10,000 men and women in the resistance as well as in slave labor and concentration camps scattered throughout Europe. Norway lost hundreds of teachers and religious leaders who died resisting Vidkun Quisling, the head of the Norwegian Nazi Party. Quisling’s demands for Nazi indoctrination to be taught in schools and churches forced teachers and pastors to quit their posts and work underground. The people of Norway lost more than all these things: Norwegian children were deprived of their childhoods, one of the most precious commodities of all.
It seems a horrendous assignment for Phyllis Bowden, a young woman in military intelligence assigned to the Office of the Military Attache in the American Embassy in Oslo. Her official tasks include secretarial and intelligence duties, and finding families of lost loved ones. These office duties, as tough as they may be, pale when she’s faced with something that occurs outside the office. Phyllis finds a runaway child in a café bathroom one night, beginning her most difficult task: what to do with the little girl labeled a quisling because her Norwegian mother married a German officer. A contentious purge has overtaken the country and quislings are not to be tolerated. But the girl has been tortured and abused by the time Phyllis finds her. Taking on the child's plight could have serious international diplomatic problems.
Meanwhile the love of her life, Joe Schneider, an Mi5 agent, has disappeared in Romania while on assignment. Between nerve-wracking tasks in her job, trying to decide the fate of the little girl and being heartbroken over Joe’s disappearance, Phyllis is in for the biggest struggle of her young life and intelligence career.