The Solar System is ours. Biotechnology has provided the Settled Worlds with a riot of habitable environments; sentient craft ply the routes between the planets; the souls of the dead live on in the Noosphere, a psychic Net where they can be contacted by the living.
Paradise? Not quite - and when a strange womb is recovered from a living spaceship crashed on Mars it swiftly becomes the focus of intrigue and murder as the Settled Worlds begin to disintegrate under the strain of a vicious interplanetary war between two rival factions.
British author Titchmarsh (Rosie) brings the art world alive in this engaging romantic drama. In 2007, James "Jamie" Ballantyne reconnects with childhood chum and flame, Artemis "Missy" King, who resurfaces in the showroom of Jamie's auction house in Bath to bid on a painting on behalf of her grandfather. The reunited couple discover that a set of paintings by Sir Alfred James Munnings, owned by Missy's grandfather (himself owner of an established fine art gallery), are fakes. Their investigation reveals a long thread of family secrets and the source of the feud between their two families, revelations that cause the couple to split up. Titchmarsh alternates between the present and the story of Jamie's grandfather, Harry Ballantyne, and Missy's grandmother, Eleanor King, who met as art students at Oxford. The effect is nostalgic and builds anticipation and curiosity in the history of the two families, including the story behind the lost love of their grandparents.