In Rome, four members of a German family are reunited by chance.
A young composer, Siegfried; his estranged father, Freidrich, who held office under the Nazis and is once more making his way in public life, this time as a democratically elected buromaster; Siegfried's uncle, Judejahn, a unrepentant former SS general; and Judejahn's renegade son, Adolf, who is preparing himself for a Catholic priesthood.
The four men recount their separate experiences in music, bureaucracy, arms and religion- taken together they personify the German soul.
Death in Rome is a history book, a family book, a book about the battle over who gets to represent the authentic face of post-war Germany.
It is a devastating and brilliant provocation of an entire nation.