It is 1945 and the tide of war has finally begun to turn against the Nazis. Tygo Winter, alias the Ferret, a 15-year-old Dutch boy, is between two very hard places. His skills as a locksmith make him invaluable to the Nazi Plunder Squad and help him to stay alive, but he is hated and hunted by the Resistance as a result. When General Muller, the Head of the Gestapo, becomes desperate to find a rare and valuable red diamond, it is Tygo’s help he needs. During the search Tygo discovers a Dutch Jewish girl hiding in a chimney who, he later finds, may be able to lead him to the diamond. He refuses to betray her, however, and it is this meeting and subsequent friendship which make him realise that he could play a part in ending the war.
This is a complex and absorbing thriller, based on historical fact but projected by Osborne into an intriguing premise: could one young boy end the war? The pace of the narrative is fast, its twists and turns constantly refreshing the plot. Osborne’s scriptwriting credentials are very much in evidence here as Tygo takes on shades of a very tattered James Bond and achieves remarkable things with little sleep and, seemingly, virtually no food. The underlying details are well researched, the love interest dutifully but gently provided and what results is a story that remains sensitive yet revealing despite a background in which unspeakable atrocities were committed.