The small, unnamed Eastern bloc country of Olen Steinhauer's debut novel The Bridge of Sighs is making its first tentative steps towards democracy. By command of the party chairman, the labour camps are being emptied of innocent civilians. The amnesty has begun.-But life isn't easy for the celebrated author, Ferenc Kolyeszar. He suffers from writer's block; the gnawing suspicion that his wife, Magda, is cheating on him with his best friend and partner, Stefan; and a malaise that has affected his day job as a homicide inspector. Then the artist Anton-n Kullmann is found dead, his arms and legs shattered, his body set on fire. It's an exceptionally brutal murder.-Peeling off the layers of deception and duplicity that surround the case, Ferenc discovers a secret that has ruined the lives of three men, and could ruin the lives of many more, particularly his own.-As the country moves from a tenuous democracy into an even more totalitarian state, Ferenc learns what it means to be betrayed, what it means to be the betrayer.