Everyone has a skeleton in their closet, so they say. For the Commander, the most painful of these has suddenly returned to haunt him.
Revenge is in the air as an old enemy and associated malevolent agents are on the advance. And they have a project to complete along with a fifteen-year long score to resolve.
The Commander has to depend on every capability and skill at his disposal, along with the loyal backing and assistance of his new Deputy, in this breathtaking introduction to John M. Upton's Security Novels series. Along with the thrills, spills, action and suspense, there is humour too. And the occasional stolen elephant or two .....
The gentile ticking of an old mantelpiece clock was the only sound trying to compete with the seemingly insistent ringing of the telephone that sat on the hall table below it.
It was almost three in the morning, a warm early morning in early September and it was beginning to seem that the telephone would remain unanswered but it continued to ring as the sound of rushing footsteps drew closer to the front door swiftly followed by the clattering of keys in the lock.
The door creaked open as Security Service Deputy Commander Tracy Caverner entered, quickly slinging the uniform jacket and bag she was carrying casually on the hall table and cursing quietly under her breath as they promptly slid off onto the floor.
"Hello yes?" she answered almost out of breath, she had just worked two consecutive eight hour duty shifts and was understandably fatigued as she listened to the caller who it turned out was a clerk form the Security Service's personnel department with a unique opportunity.
"Are you having a laugh?" Tracy's slightly London accented voice echoed around the deserted hallway as she reached for the light switch which shed modest light on the scene.
Looking up in the hall mirror, she continued to listen as she looked up at her reflection which showed a slightly tired young woman in her early thirties attired in her Security Service uniform complete with gold lettering on the epaulettes.
"Yes, all right, I'll be there" Tracy responded to the no doubt relieved Clerk who could finally go home himself now his task was complete.
Putting the telephone down, she looked once again at her reflection in the mirror. "Well Tracy old girl" she said to herself "looks like we are off to Haychester".
It was quite obvious to anyone who ever saw the City of Haychester in a morning rush hour that its road layout, mostly designed by the Romans some two thousand years earlier, where never intended to handle this much motorised traffic.
The usual combination of parents taking their children to work, commuters heading into work and the nearby railway line lowering the crossing barrier gates every five minutes in amidst the chaos saw to it that Tracy's journey into the County Head Office of the National Police & Security Service was a slow and laborious one.
Her small red painted Ford Fiesta marked patrol car was but one of a huge number of vehicles seeming crawling around the City's one way system with its myriad of roundabouts that thanks to the best efforts of the local highways department, seem to breed like rabbits.
Tracy's mind was starting to wander, she never was the most attentive driver in the world and this was suddenly ably demonstrated when with a sudden crunch, her car was shoved forward and the distinctive tinkling of glass on hard ground confirmed her instant guess that she had just been rear ended.
With a deep breath, she got out of the car and looked back at what had hit her, the scene of a large white single deck bus, the front orange, red and blue stripes now somewhat dented, and the small pile of broken red glass from her rear lights, quickly telling the story.
The bus driver looked on from his cab, and seeing the uniformed officer heading towards him, her shoulder length brown hair almost trembling with fury, he realised he was in trouble.
"Err sorry about that" said the driver rather feebly as Tracy just stood at the window and glowered at him. On the first day in a new job, wrecking one of the company's cars was not the best impression to make on her new boss.
"Acting Deputy ......" she paused, 'Tracy, remember, you've been promoted' she thought. "Deputy Duty Commander Tracy Caverner" she continued with a furious flourish brandishing a now inaccurate warrant card.
The bus driver leaned philosophically on the edge of the open window as the impatient queue of vehicles built up behind, and looked her up and down for a moment. "Don't tell me he's fired another one?" he replied curiously.
The County Headquarters building was an unusual structure, built in the 1960's originally as a College campus, its main front building featured a vee shaped roof where the first floor lecture theatre once was.
However, none of this was really noticed by Tracy as she arrived at the front entrance, and continued through the heavy aluminium framed doors into the main reception area.
The creak of the doors made the receptionist look up from her computer and see the slightly rain sodden officer make her was towards the large round reception desk set between the staircase and the marble lined corridor that led to the rest of the site.
"Can I help you at all?" the receptionist asked cheerily in a way so typical of her profession, waving her pen around like some staff of office.
"Tracy Caverner, I am the new Deputy Duty Commander," she announced almost out of breath having run from the scene of her accident just ten minutes earlier.
The receptionist produced a black leather bound visitor's book from behind the desk. "Sign in please" she insisted, proffering her pen with a look that said give it back or else.