The bleak, paranoid atmosphere of Ceausescu's regime in Romania is evoked as authentically as only someone who was there could make it. This semi-fictional narrative relates the final days of a corrupt, decaying society, where racketeering and trafficking flourish, and playing the system is necessary for survival. Under constant surveillance, everyone has hidden motives and no-one is to be trusted - a fine recipe for gripping, chilling suspense.
Early mornings unnerved me: there was never anyone on the streets, but the criss-crossed footsteps testified to there having been some small-hours rush hour in the blue light, when hundreds of people had walked or run to work or stood and waited for their transport. You felt crowded out but alone – perfect police state weather. Leo told me after the first frosts: 'The Cold War, ever wondered why they called it that? It’s not just all that bollocks about icy relations between East and West. The cold is a weapon here, they use it just like they’d use a gun or water cannon ... you remember what Napoleon said about being defeated by General Midwinter? Well around here Winter’s a colonel in the Securitate ....'