Summer, 1939. British journalist John Russell has just been granted American citizenship in exchange for agreeing to work for American intelligence when his girlfriend, Effi, is arrested by the Gestapo. Russell hoped his new nationality would let him safely stay in Berlin with Effi and his son, but now he's being blackmailed.
To free Effi, he must agree to work for the Nazis. They know he has Soviet connections and want him to pass them false intelligence. Russell consents, but secretly offers his services to the Soviets instead - not for anything too dangerous, though, and only if they'll sneak him and Effi out of Germany if necessary.
It's a good plan, but soon things become complicated. A Jewish girl has vanished, and Russell feels compelled to search for her. A woman from his past, a communist, reappears, insisting he help her reconnect with the Soviets, who turn out to demand more than Russell hoped. Meanwhile, Europe lurches toward war, and he must follow the latest stories - to places where American espionage assignments await him.