Vienna, immediately following the second World War. In the great caverns of the sewers, Harry Lime met his death, shot down even as his fingers reached through the grate into free air. He was a thief and a conman, and hundreds of children died while he whistled and rode Ferris wheels and played at being a spy.
The city is a contested space; no one claims it as their own. The booksellers have their streets, the farmers their octagons, the po-faced brokers of finance their inscrutable towers. In the west live the old families, the poor families; in the north the wealthy, the selfish; to the east the newly-arrived, the wary. To the south is the sea.