Berlin, 1922: A city of fading beauty plagued by unemployment and rampant inflation becomes home to a growing number of refugees. Esther Solomonova survives by working as secretary to her fellow Russian émigré, "Prince" Nick, a scheming cabaret owner. Always on the prowl for a deal, Nick smells money when he hears of a woman in an asylum claiming to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of the Russian Czar, the lone member of her family to escape assassination by the Bolsheviks. Enlisting a highly suspicious Esther, Nick plans to prepare the woman—known as Anna Anderson—to claim the Romanov fortune.
But Anna is being hunted. Or so she claims. At first Esther believes Anna’s fears to be just in her imagination—until innocent people around them begin to die. Together with a German police officer, a dogged inspector named Schmidt, Esther tries to discover who wants Anna dead—and why. Yet the deeper she and Schmidt dig, the more they realize that their own lives are at risk.
Deeply atmospheric, peopled with rich, complex characters, City of Shadows is an enthralling novel.