March 7th 1969, the day that the central London section of the Victoria Line was opened by Her Majesty the Queen, the Lewisham Diamond Exchange was the location for one of the most audacious and highest value armed robberies in history and that a street wise young lad by the name of Eddie Regent suddenly found himself front page news as he became intertwined forever in what would become a huge part of London crime history.
Many years later as the last of the surviving members of the gang passes away, at last the opportunity arrives for the Commander to seek out the answers, the truth and the guilty and finally seek justice.
In many ways this is the entry in the series that much of what has happened up until now has been leading towards as we finally find out what really happened all those years ago that would one day result in the emergence of the legend that is The Commander himself.
Told in a mix of present day and flashback format, writing this novel meant a lot of research into what occurred on a specific day over forty years ago and intertwining as much of that as possible into the storyline.
It took a lot of work but the result is my personal favourite entry in the series.
"We danv" the Commander read from his diary with a slightly puzzled expression as the eight car train of Class 377 Southern Electrostar stock weaved its way through the complex track work that guarded the approach to Eastbourne station on the sunny south coast of East Sussex.
With some soul searching, he tried to rack him mind as to what this little note that he had at some point in the past hastily scribbled in the entry for three days time actually meant.
"We are now approaching Eastbourne" the cheery but annoying automatic announcement system called throughout the rear car in which the Commander was travelling "Our final destination. Thank you for travelling with Southern."
Failing to come up with the answer to the mystery, the Commander instead responded to the announcement of their impending arrival by returning the diary to the inside pocket of his best dress uniform tunic, rising from his seat and proceeding towards the doors just as the train came to a halt.
Exiting as soon as the release of the train doors would allow, the Commander walked briskly along the length of platform one to the ticket barriers where he was let through by the Station Supervisor with a friendly acknowledgement.
Having crossed the station's Victorian glass roofed concourse and exited out into Terminus Road, the Commander was greeted with the welcome sight of old friend and former Security Department colleague Commander Al Longton who was also attired in full dress uniform complete with ceremonial sword and looking none to comfortable in it as well.
"Well you certainly believe in cutting things fine Sir" he remarked as the two men met and shook hands warmly.
"Something came up at the last minute" the Commander offered by way of explanation.
"Nothing new there then" Longton remarked with wry grin "I have a fast car parked around the corner. We should just make it."
"Oh drat!" the Commander suddenly remarked as they reached the red marked Security Service patrol car parked in the taxi rank situated beneath the station awning alongside the platforms.
"You forgot the rings?" Longton asked concerned.
"No I got them" the Commander confirmed "I've lost my sword!" "Where is it?" Longton asked.
The Commander looked across at the nearby platform where the eight car train on which he had arrived a few minutes earlier was now pulling away back the way it had come with a blast of its two tone horn.
"On its way back to London Victoria by the looks of it" the Commander commented with a little sigh as he watched "Never mind, we have a wedding to go to."
"You do know it's supposed to be the bride who is late for a wedding, not the best man?" Longton reminded the Commander as they got in the patrol car.
"Well if your driving is still anything like it was when I was your boss at Haychester then I reckon we should get their before we have left" the Commander responded as Longton started the car.
"Hold tight!" Longton announced as he activated the sirens and lights before accelerating away through the traffic.
"VIP Protection Division, Commander Sandhurst speaking" the experienced officer answered the telephone that was ringing on the vacant desk of his superior officer.
"No, Divisional Commander Caverner is not here today" Sandhurst explained to the caller "She is getting married this afternoon."
"Ah...." Sandhurst responded, an air of concern coming over him as the message was relayed by the caller "Well I can have a car and a couple of our best officers there within twenty minutes" he added as he quickly consulted the duty roster posted on the notice board alongside him.
"You've got them" Sandhurst responded "Just tell me where" he proceeded to jot down some details on the notepad on the desk before the caller passed a final instruction to him.
"The Administrator General?" he asked "Yes he is the Best Man at the wedding, Jennifer Caverner is his sister in law you see" Sandhurst explained "Eastbourne I think, his office at the yard should have the details."
The call certainly had an air of mystery to it and even though only one half was audible to the other officers in the general office, they became aware that an event of some significance appeared to have been set in motion.
"Yes Sir, I understand" Sandhurst confirmed "Right away, thank you Sir. Goodbye."
Sandhurst looked down at the telephone for a few moments in contemplation before looking around the general office where those present were all looking up in his direction as if in impatient anticipation.
"Terry, Imogen" Sandhurst called "Get hold of the fastest car we have got and get yourselves down to Lewisham General Hospital" he announced "Witness Protection just had one of their stars go down with a major coronary."
"Yes Sir" the two officers Sandhurst had selected for this job responded.
"Go to the main in patients entrance" Sandhurst explained "You will be met there but be aware they want this done strictly on the QT."
"On our way!"
Divisional Commander Tracy Caverner looked up and down the road with a distinctively worried expression as she stood on the pavement outside the church where her twin sister Jennifer was about to be imminently married.
"Where the hell are you?" she pondered.
"My fianc? or your husband?" Commander Simon Fuller enquired as he joined his soon to be sister in law on the edge of the pavement.
"Brides to be are supposed to be late" Tracy responded "The Best Man on the other hand is a different point."
"Well he did get promoted to Regional Administrator General" Fuller remarked "It was bound to happen that he would become busier."
"Some achieve greatness" Tracy remarked wryly "However my husband is definitely one who had it thrust upon him, by the National Security Committee in his case."
"I hear approaching sirens" Fuller remarked as he strained to make out a sound in the distance through the general background soundtrack of traffic as well as the over enthusiastic seagulls which frequently dominate Eastbourne's environs.
"He is just coming now" Sir Richard Crowthorne, the distinguished head of the Intelligence Service more commonly known as MI5 confirmed as he joined the two officers on watch at the edge of the pavement.
"Morning Sir Richard" Tracy responded "Glad you could make it."
"Is their anyone you don't know the location of in these parts?" Fuller asked Sir Richard out of curiosity.
"Not many" Sir Richard had to admit with a wry grin "Except maybe my wife when the sales are on!"
"There they are!" Fuller pointed ahead to where he could just make out the patrol car enter the far end of the road they were and in and weave its way through the traffic before pulling up sharply to a halt in front of them.