'The master of the triple double-cross' (The Times)
Spring, 1919. James ‘Max’ Maxted, former Great War flying ace, returns to the trail of murder, treachery and half-buried secrets. Having left Paris after avenging the murder of his father, Sir Henry Maxted, he is convinced there is more – much more – to be discovered about what Sir Henry had been trying to accomplish. And he suspected elusive German spymaster Fritz Lemmer knows the truth of it.
Now, undercover in Lemmer’s service but with his loyalty pledged to the British Secret Service, Max sets out on his first – and possibly last – mission for Lemmer. It takes him to the far north of Scotland – to the Orkney Isles, where the German High Seas Fleet has been impounded in Scapa Flow, its fate to be decided at the conference-table in Paris.
His mission: to recover and transport a document held aboard one of the German ships. But what that document contains will force him to break cover and race south, towards London. But can he survive long enough to deliver it?
Set in 1919, Edgar-winner Goddard's second James Maxted thriller casts the former English flying ace in the role of a double agent, ostensibly working for German spy master Fritz Lemmer, whom Max, who's really taking orders from the British secret service, suspects was involved in his father's death in 2015's The Ways of the World. Max is on a mission in Scotland's remote Orkney Islands, seeking to retrieve a secret file for Lemmer while praying that his cover isn't blown. Meanwhile in Paris, Max's trusted partner, Sam Twentyman, discreetly continues the investigation into the death of Max's diplomat father, who was apparently pushed from a building window because he knew more than he was supposed to about the Paris peace talks. While dotted with moments of tense action and clever dialogue, this installment suffers from a confusingly wide cast of characters and a tangled plot. History buffs and fans of period thrillers, however, will appreciate Goddard's attention to detail.