University professor Josef Held has never recovered from the loss of his wife. He has no intention of letting anyone new into his quiet, safe world, where the ticking clock in his mathematics classroom drowns out the beat of Nazi soldiers' boots. But when his Jewish pupil Michael comes to him, saying Jews will no longer be allowed to study, Josef can ignore the situation no longer. In an impulsive act of courage, he offers Michael a place to hide in his attic. In the quiet gloom of the secret room, Josef discovers Michael is everything he himself is not: spontaneous, poetic, and unafraid to love, though his passionate relationship with a non-Jewish Dutch girl is strictly forbidden. Michael insists: not even the Nazis will keep him from his fearless, beautiful, chestnut-haired Elke. Josef sees the determination in his young friend's eyes. Remembering his own heartbreak, he feels desperate to give Michael and Elke a chance. But in the dark days of war, with danger and betrayal at every turn, no-one can be trusted. And then tragedy strikes, facing Josef with an impossible choice. If Michael is to survive and get back to the woman he loves, it will be down to Josef--to find the hero inside himself, and do whatever it takes to keep Michael alive. Even if it means putting his own life on the line.
Courage -- Fiction.
Man-woman relationships -- Fiction.
Netherlands -- History -- German occupation, 1940-1945 -- Fiction.
Secrecy -- Fiction.
Teacher-student relationships -- Fiction.
Widowers -- Fiction.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Netherlands -- Amsterdam -- Fiction.