Sam McCready has served with distinction for seven years as chief of the cover operations desk of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, a post that is the culmination of a brilliant career as an inventive and intrepid field agent. But times have changed. A high-level policy decision demands that the SIS strip away its old-style operatives, and the first to be targeted for retirement is the freewheeling McCready.
Sharp-minded, somewhat cynical, McCready is a maverick whose independent style has often driven him beyond the rules. Presented to a panel of his peers, McCready's exploits may be dazzling evidence of his value, or damning proof that he must be put aside. Presiding over this long-shot effort by a great spymaster to save his career will be Timothy Edwards, McCready's most determined foe, and in the balance hangs the future of Britain's secret intelligence operations.