The car jolts to a halt at the pavement's edge, the driver waving through the windscreen to attract Richard's attention. He starts with astonishment. The driver is Gemma, his ex-wife.
He has not seen or spoken to her for several years. They have, she memorably assured him the last time they met, nothing to say to each other. But something has changed her mind - something urgent...
Immediately Richard is catapulted into a breathless race against time that takes him from London, across northern Europe and into the heart of a mystery that reaches back into history - the fate of Anastasia, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs. From that moment, Richard's life will be changed for ever in ways he could never have imagined...
At the start of Goddard's highly entertaining suspense novel, London civil servant Richard Eusden is contemplating "the predictable day and unsurprising week that lie ahead" one Monday morning outside his office in Whitehall. Then Richard's ex-wife, Gemma, pulls over in her car and insists he get in. Marty Hewitson, Richard's "childhood friend" and Gemma's "other ex-husband," is dying from a brain tumor, and she needs Richard to deliver to Marty an old leather attach case that belonged to Marty's grandfather, Clem Hewitson. An Isle of Wight police officer who's been dead more than 20 years, Clem was known to exaggerate and sometimes invent adventures that included spies, murderers, and arsonists. But this ordinary errand takes a wild turn, and soon Richard is crisscrossing Europe, dodging assassins trying to protect the satchel that may contain secret documents related to the Romanovs. Richard can't trust anyone, least of all Marty. Goddard (Long Time Coming) imbues his clever plot with hairpin turns and sophisticated humor.