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September 1943: German forces occupy Rome. Gestapo boss Obersturmbannf hrer Paul Hauptmann rules with terror. Hunger is widespread. Rumors fester. The war's outcome is far from certain. Diplomats, refugees, and escaped Allied prisoners flee for protection into Vatican City; at one fifth of a square mile, it's the world's smallest state, a neutral, independent country within Rome. A small band of unlikely friends led by a courageous Irish priest is drawn into deadly danger as they seek to help those seeking refuge. A deadly high-stakes battle of wits ensues in this astonishing and unforgettable story of love, faith, and sacrifice that explores what it means to be truly human in the most extreme circumstances. The first book in the Rome Escape Line Trilogy, this powerful, heartbreaking literary thriller is based on the true story of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a man who risked his life to smuggle thousands of Jews and escaped Allied prisoners out of Italy under the nose of his Nazi nemesis.