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A riveting bestseller from one of the UK's biggest thriller writers.

About the Author

Robert Goddard was born in Hampshire and read History at Cambridge. His first novel, Past Caring, was an instant bestseller. Since then his books have captivated readers worldwide with their edge-of-the-seat pace and their labyrinthine plotting. His first Harry Barnett novel, Into the Blue, was winner of the first WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award and was dramatized for TV, starring John Thaw.

Reviews

Written in clear, resonant prose, Goddard's first novel, nominated for the Booker prize, is a poised telling of a complex tale. A fascinating ``could this be true?'' story within a story is reminiscent of Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time, while Thomas Hardy's tragic characters are deliberately echoed in the Edwardian British politician Edwin Strafford and the troubled historian Martin Radford, who has been chosen to research Strafford's tormented life. Radford finds a memoir that contains hints of a political and moral crime, past but not forgotten, so devastating that even in 1977 it reverberates through the corridors of power. As he reads the memoir, Radford eventually comes to regard the dead Home Secretary as a friend, even as his search uncovers corruption and murder. The novel's subtlety is reflected in the different meanings of its title, and the satisfying climax weaves together the strands of past and present. In one sense a historical thriller, and in another a romantic novel of a love affair gone disastrously wrong, this is, in any case, a wonderful read. (January 13)

Unemployed and disenchanted, Martin Radford is delighted to accept an old schoolmate's invitation to visit him in Madeira where not only the climate but an offer of funded research from his friend's employer revives this historian manque. Leo Sellick gives Martin the memoir of the previous owner of his estate, former British consul and member of Asquith's cabinet Edwin Strafford, hoping he will unearth the reason for Strafford's abrupt dismissal by his suffragist fiancee and his political peersa mystery that baffled Strafford as much as anyone. Exploring the sudden downfall of the rising politician, Martin enters a maze of lies and intrigue that forces him to confront his own past as well as Strafford's. Psychological drama and intricate plot will entice readers.Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.

"A complex trail of blackmail and murder. Recommended" * Daily Express *
"A hornet's nest of jealousy, blackmail and violence. Engrossing" * Daily Mail *
"One of the best novels I've read in a long time... The story is absolutely compelling... I loved every one of its 500 pages" * The Washington Post *
"Combines the expert suspense manipulation skills of a Daphne Du Maurier romance with those of a John Le Carre thriller" * The New York Times *

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