What happens when world leaders of the Cold War meet in the afterlife to discuss what happened? To determine responsibility for starting and/or stopping it? To be sentenced by cosmic justice for what they did and didn’t do?
Churchill, De Gaulle, Khrushchev, Nehru, and LBJ are gathered in purgatory, on trial for their respective roles in the Cold War. They must all tell the truth as they know it; untruth is neither allowed nor possible. Purgatory is run by women. Justice is in charge, aided by the devil’s advocate for the prosecution, the guardian angel for the defense, and the recording angel—who reports the whole truth of what really happened—a.k.a. Clio, the muse of history. She tells it like it should be, but seldom is told on Earth.
Though the scenario itself is obviously fiction, the rest of the book is not. The events discussed have been thoroughly investigated, and the times in which they occurred exhaustively researched. And the main characters themselves have been discovered, not created. What they are saying and doing is what they really said and did.
All these leaders were passionately dedicated to the nations they served. All of them had to make hard choices, which made them less than perfect. On the scales of justice, did the good outweigh the bad?