In the aftermath of the Great War and a devastating family tragedy, Laurence Bartram has turned his back on the world. But with a well-timed letter, an old flame manages to draw him back in. Mary Emmett's brother John - like Laurence, an officer during the war - has apparently killed himself while in the care of a remote veterans' hospital, and Mary needs to know why. What connects a group of war poets, a feud within Emmett's regiment, and a hidden love affair? Was Emmett's death really a suicide or the missing piece in a series of murders?
"Love, Lies, Revenge, War and Truth."
When Great War veteran Laurence Bartram arrives in Easton Deadall, he is struck by the beauty of the place: a crumbling manor, a venerable church, and a memorial to the village's soldiers, almost all of whom died in one bloody battle. Now peace prevails, but Easton Deadall remains haunted by tragedy - as does the Easton family. In 1911, five-year-old Kitty disappeared from her bed and has not been seen in thirteen years; only her fragile mother still believes she is alive.
"Beguiling and creepy story"
In the summer of 1913, the world seems full of possibility for four very different young men. Young Jean-Baptiste dreams of the day he'll leave his Picardy home and row down-river to the sea. Earnest and hard-working Frank has come to London to take up an apprenticeship in Regent Street. His ambitions are self-improvement, a wife and, above all, a bicycle. Organ scholar Benedict is anxious yet enthralled by the sensations of his synaesthesia.
1920. The Great War has been over for two years, and it has left a very different world from the Edwardian certainties of 1914. Following the death of his wife and baby and his experiences on the Western Front, Laurence Bartram has become something of a recluse.