London 1887: a year of Continental anarchist- and American-financed Fenian violence. The suspicious death of Patrick O’Rorke’s boyhood friend Tom O’Brien – the internationally famous tenor known as Tomaso Briani – propels the former colonial detective into dangerous places when he is called on to investigate by both Briani’s mysterious widow, the Contessa di Stephani, and ambitious but devious Detective Chief Inspector Wilson of Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, himself embroiled in the Yard’s own labyrinthine power struggles. As other old friends, enemies and ghosts from O’Rorke’s past in New Zealand, Ireland and America rise up again to haunt him, the alliance of a Fenian cell – led by his former professional rival Declan Burke and his mortal enemy Bogdan Lynskey – threatens his life and the lives of everyone close to him. The fast-moving action takes us from London’s fashionable Belgravia and Kensington to Ireland’s Limerick Town and O’Rorke’s birthplace, before reaching its midnight climax at the highwayman Tibbet’s Corner on Wimbledon Common, where a truth is finally revealed and a mortal shot is fired.
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