Coming out in May 2020
Berlin, 1939. Harro and Libertas Schulze-Boysen are a society couple. Both of them are handsome, fiery, charismatic – irresistible. Harro is a senior officer in the Luftwaffe and a protégé of Hermann Göring. Libertas aspires to be a novelist and screenwriter. Both mix with the great and the powerful of Berlin. But once war breaks out, both Harro and Libertas enter into battle with the Nazi regime without hesitation, no matter the cost.
Sheltered from the death and devastation of the Eastern Front, life in Berlin seems to continue as before. But as the war progresses, the magnitude of the crimes being committed by the Nazis becomes more and more evident – to those, at least, who can and want to see beyond the propaganda. The couple gather around them Libertas’ friends from a Bohemian circle – writers, artists, actors – and also members of the Nazi hierarchy like Harro. They organise acts of resistance and pass on information to the Allies.
The Gestapo names the group “Red Orchestra” because they send radio messages from Berlin to Moscow after the German attack on Russia: “Orchestra” was a term used to describe the activities of those involved in transmitting radio messages, the operator being the “conductor” and those who supplied the messages the “musicians”.
In The Red Orchestra in Blue Joe O’Byrne fictionalised the true story of Harro, Libertas and their resistance group, creating a powerful evocation of the atmosphere and events of the time and giving the narrative drama and tension as it progresses towards the inevitable conclusion.
Cover art: “La Camarde” (“The Grim Reaper”) © Bernard Piga, with the gracious permission of his Estate
About Joe O’Byrne