Guy and Harriet Pringle, newly married, arrive in Bucharest in the autumn of 1939. The city they find is one of contrasts and rumours, on the edge with wavering loyalties and the tension of war. Guy, teaching at the university, throws himself unstintingly into Bucharest life, embracing all around him. Harriet, struggling to adjust to married life and to her husband's friendship with the over-attentive Sophie, finds life in a city cut off from the outside world less straightforward than she anticipated.
Peopled by an international cast of characters, including the inimitable and eccentric Russian emigre Prince Yakimov, this is a rich and rewarding portrait of a city and country at war, and of the first months of a marriage.