As the clouds of impending war descend on France in the early summer of 1940, with the Germans rolling into northern France and a toothless Vichy government taking over in the south, young American Brent Danforth, who was taking a European gap-year sailing adventure between his freshmen and sophomore years at Dartmouth, comes into port in Antibes, France. Here he is stuck along with an assorted group of men congregating at Oscar’s gay men’s club overlooking the Antibes yacht basin. His new acquaintances include men of various nationalities in addition to the Frenchmen, the bar owner, Maurice Gagnon; the bar waiter, Tristian Alarie; the clingy transvestite, Louis; the priest, Père Bernard; and the artist, Jean-Paul Achten. Foreigners trapped with him on the French Riviera are the English novelist, Mark Standish, the Italian industrialist, Mateo Paoli; the old Spanish general, Juan del Campo; and the Jewish German actor, Gunter Achten.
All of the men are gay and thus are at high risk under German occupation. Brent has traveled Europe on money earned on his back with men, and all who are tops at Oscar’s want him. Most of the men are spies reporting on the inevitable German advance from the north and a tentative Italian one from the east. What could possibly go wrong for them? Some of the men will not survive. All of them will have their lives changed forever.
“You are such a handsome young man—very fit. You could have been one of my soldiers. One of my special soldiers. Could you give me a memory?”
“Of course. What?”
“Could you become naked for me and let me see you—make love to you with my eyes?”