The Spies of Warsaw is a low-key finely crafted novel of espionage. Set in Warsaw and Paris, the story takes place from mid 1937 to early 1938. War was looming, and Poland was to be the first major battleground.
In this story, Jean-Francoise Mercier de Boutillion is the French military attache at the French embassy in Warsaw. He is a veteran of the previous war, and has the rank of Colonel. With relatively little training he has been assigned the role of spymaster, recruiting and running agents in Germany.
This is not a blockbuster novel. Although there is some violent action and plenty of tense moments, that is not the focus. There is a pervasive sense of sadness and loss as the inevitability of war grows ever greater. More than once Mercier is in a crowd of people going about their daily lives and he feels almost crushed by the knowledge that war will come and those daily lives will be no more. He is a very decent man living and working in a difficult time and place.