Klaus, the novella that opens and, to some extent, dominates this collection, tells the story of Klaus Mann, son of Thomas, and in spite of the long shadow of so famous a father, an important novelist and political activist in his own right. His struggle against Nazism gave him a focus, but its demise and what he perceived as Germany's inability to change led to depression and an early death. Massie succeeds in evoking that period of courage and hypocrisy, intellectual fidelity and clever changeability, sacrifice and impunity, personified by the tragic Klaus and the mercurial and indestructible Gustaf Grundgens, his former brother-in-law and ex-lover. Between these two lie not only those broken relationships but also a novel - Klaus's novel Mephisto, a thinly disguised attack on Grundgens that for many years could not be published in West Germany. Massie's subtle prose merely suggests some intriguing aspects of this network of relationships and the self-destructive nature of literary inspiration.