Helen Powell was a punch card operator in the test office of Elcomp, the largest and most dynamically progressive computer manufacturing company in the West. A saboteur, acting for a totalitarian regime, eluded the security network and attempted to destroy the new top secret Mark IX, the greatest computer Elcomp had ever constructed. Unfortunately for the saboteur, the Mark IX had inbuilt defence mechanisms and the secret agent died in a holocaust of high voltage sparks.
From that time onwards Helen began to notice strange changes in the great electronic thinking machine. It seemed to her that the Mark IX was developing something which might almost have been described as a personality. She tried to dismiss the thoughts as imagination . . . then the face appeared . . . if it was a face!
Helen saw an image on the computer's main screen. It was a face, yet not a human face in the accepted sense. The most horrible thing about it was the resemblance it bore to the dead agent.
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.