Larkwood Priory, Suffolk, 1995: Following his afternoon confessions, Father Anselm is stopped by an old man. What, he is asked, should a man do when the world has turned against him? Anselms responseclaim sanctuaryis to have greater resonance than he could ever have imagined, for the man returns demanding the protection of the Church. He is Eduard Schwermann, a suspected Nazi war criminal.
Meanwhile, with her life running out, Agnes Aubret unburdens a secret to her granddaughter Lucy. Fifty years earlier Agnes lived in occupied Paris and risked her life to smuggle Jewish children to safety until her group was exposed by an SS officer: Eduard Schwermann.
As Father Anselm struggles to discover the truth about Schwermanns history and Lucy delves ever deeper into her grandmothers past, their investigations dovetail to reveal a remarkable story, in which two seemingly unconnected lives shockingly converge. William Brodrick is a master of crisp historical re-creation, precision plotting, and morally complex characterization.