A Half Life of One is basically the story of a guy whose business goes wrong. The action he takes to save his family from the consequences of bankruptcy soon spiral out of control.
I too have owned (still do in fact) a number of businesses and like every entrepreneur I've often stared bankruptcy in the face. I wrote the first draft of A Half Life Of One whilst fighting to save what was then my main company. During the year it took to write I lost a stone and a half and my hair turned white due to the pressure I was under at the time. Fortunately, the company survived.
There's also a backstory to the backstory. I've often wondered how I would have behaved if I'd lived in Germany or occupied France during the war. Like everyone else I'd like to think I would have taken a stand against the Nazis or joined the Resistance. But the truth is I don't think I would. Especially if my family was threatened. I think I would have buckled under the pressure and committed whatever atrocities they demanded of me. After the war I expect I would have soon forgotten my misdemeanours or perhaps rationalised them away.
That's what the main guy in my book does. It doesn't make it right of course. The question is, what would you have done in these extreme circumstances? Are you sure?