from the secret archive of the Comptrollerate-General for Scrutiny and Survey
‘a learned, beautifully written, elegant spy thriller’ (The Times)
Summer 1914: the world is on the brink. As Britain’s enemies grow stronger, a shadowy spymaster in London sees the hand of the man with whom he has struggled for a generation – a man he knows only as the Spider. In a desperate gamble, he sends four agents out across Europe, on a mission they do not understand… The future of British intelligence – of the British Empire – is in their hands. Not all of them will return. Unique and resourceful, hunted and betrayed, they have embarked on a journey of action and intrigue and heroism that will climax in the town of Sarajevo on the 28th of June 1914.
Published on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, the latest episode drawing on the secret archive of the Comptrollerate-General for Scrutiny and Survey was one of The Times’s books of the year.
‘a dense, rewarding beast of a book‘ (Antonia Senior)
‘a tour de force of delicate, intricate, glorious spy craft, peopled by a cast of characters of such colour and life that you will turn corners, expecting still to meet them. His language is lyrical, spare and beautiful and the depth of passion and intellect shines from the page. This is magnificent. If you only read one novel about the Great War this year, make it this one.‘ (M.C.Scott)
‘I cared very deeply about the fate of our four spies… Robert Wilton’s prose is as superb as his plotting… Surprises and shocks are delivered with impeccable timing… Yet again, he is not only a fine storyteller but also a master of untangling our history‘ (ForWinterNights)
‘Robert Wilton is one of the smartest novelists we have. A touch of Conrad, more than a dash of Buchan … Simply brilliant.’ (John Lawton)