This book opens up with a Jewish family of four being chased down a road by Nazis. The father tells the children that they must leap out of the vehicle and that they must run into the forest, forever using the names Hansel and Gretel, good German names. At a bend in the road, the children separate from their father and stepmother and run into the forest. They walk the night, rest in leaves, and continue on in the day, eventually finding the house of an elderly woman named Magda. Magda is considered to be a witch by the people in the village that she lives close to.
Magda decides to chance it and takes the children into her home, getting them documents and introducing them to her family. However the children and the village are not safe. A senior officer of the Reich comes to the village to take away "perfect" children back to Germany and the village needs to hatch a plan to make sure that no children are taken a way.
Meanwhile, the parents manage to escape from the Germans chasing them and meet up with a group of Russians and Lithuanians. They fight side by side with this group to try to stay alive in these trying times.
Given the serious nature of the subject matter in this book, you're never really sure whether this book is going to end with a happy or sad ending. Meanwhile, the characters capture you and all you can do is hope that everything works out well for them. I would definitely search out another book by Murphy. This one was a real page turner.
First Line: "Caught between green earth and blue sky, only truth kept me sane, but now lies disturb my peace."