There is a new member of the family as the battle for freedom and democracy begins....
A nightmare from the past for both the Security Service as well as young Jack Thornton comes back to haunt everyone and threatens disaster.
A conspiracy emerges that threatens to engulf everything and everyone which if left unchecked could spell the end of everything.
It all begins with a simple looking battered old briefcase and a phone call...
When I first contemplated the plot outline of what became this twelfth novel in the series I thought it would take months to write, in fact to my surprise even now it took just two weeks!
For me it was one of the most enjoyable to write (in the same top three as Westminster and Lewisham in my opinion) and I decided to basically have a ball, throw in as much action, excitement and over the top moments as I could just about get away with!!
There is even a record breaking three different versions of the cover artwork and a deleted scene!!
Researching the locations such as the area around Marylebone itself was also interesting as well and I have to admit I really enjoyed this one.
Baroness Jacqueline de Wente, the Secretary of State for the UK Government's Justice Department had a distinctly worried look about her as she left New Scotland Yard and climbed into the back of her official ministerial car.
"Now there goes someone with a lot on her mind" Tracy Caverner, Divisional Commander of the Metropolitan Division of the National Security & Police Service commented to her husband, the Regional Administrator General of the service as they observed the Justice Minister's car speed off up Broadway heading in the direction of central Westminster itself.
"Someone probably just discovered another cock up at the Home Office" the Commander commented wryly "They haven't had one for nearly a week so they are a tad overdue."
"Tell me" Jack Thornton, a twelve year old lad who through a set of complicated circumstances had now become part of their family "Is it being high ranking law enforcement officers that makes you both cynical or some form of natural talent?"
"General rule of thumb usually says the higher up in the Service you go" the Commander confirmed "The more no neck talent less politicians you have to deal with and in direct proportion the more cynical you get."
Tracy was indeed correct as it turned out, the Justice Minister did indeed have something on her mind. This was a situation that began the moment she had bumped into Jack with his new foster parents in the reception area of New Scotland Yard some ten minutes previously.
As her ministerial car proceeded around Parliament Square, her mobile telephone rang and with some reluctance once she saw the number of the caller, she answered it.
"Hello?" she called "Yes it was definitely the late Philip Thornton's son, no doubt about it" she confirmed.
"Is the meeting set?" she enquired.
There was a brief pause as the caller confirmed the details during which the Justice Minister listened intently as if her life depended upon it.
"Very well" she confirmed "Location green in one hour."
With the call concluded, the Justice Minister considered her options for a few moments before leaning forward.
"Clive" she called to her regular driver "Back to the office quickly please."
"Welcome to the family" the Commander declared as along with Tracy he raised his glass to Jack in the restaurant where they were having lunch.
"Thank you" Jack responded "Of course you do realise I am missing a day of school today don't you?"
"Given the circumstances I think this can be allowed this once" Tracy responded.
"So how is this going to work?" Jack asked "I like to know where I am. That comes of having spent two years living off my own wits."
"Well you can have the spare bedroom" the Commander confirmed "It needs some decorating but you are welcome to choose how you want it."
"And no questions asked?" Jack asked.
"I figure that if you want to talk about anything" the Commander concluded "You will get to it in your own time."
"Great" Jack confirmed "Let's eat" he declared.
The security guard at the main entrance allowed the Justice Minister in through the imposing doorway of the extremely anonymous office building without any fuss, question or impediment.
Once inside, she was escorted through the seemingly empty but thoroughly modernised building to a set of large opaque glass doors that when opened, revealed a formal boardroom dominated by a large glass table around which were sat a number of well turned out individuals awaiting patiently her arrival.
"Ah Ms de Wente" the most senior looking man present declared as she entered the room "We have been expecting you. Would you care for a drink?"
"Not right now thank you Number Three" the Justice Minister confirmed as she took her seat at the table "I cannot stay long, matters of state to attend to, you know how it is."
"Indeed I do" Number Three confirmed confidently.
"To business then" de Wente declared as she prepared to explain the reason for the swift calling of this unscheduled meeting.
"As this committee is aware, two years ago we dealt with a potential threat to the integrity of our organisation when a senior member of the Foreign Office went 'off message' and threatened to expose our operations before we were ready" she explained.
"And very successfully if I recall" one of the others recalled.
"With just two problems arising from that" de Wente continued "After the termination warrant had been executed and the information enclosure team had finished their work, we were never able to find either the target's briefcase containing his files or his only remaining member of his family, both of which we know for a fact were in the vehicle when our representatives interceded."
"Which I assume brings us to the point of this little gathering?" Number Three asked.
"Indeed" de Wente confirmed "A little over one hour ago, the young man in question appeared on our radar for the first time since that night."
"Has this been confirmed?" one of the others asked.
"Our usual sources have been successful in obtaining CCTV footage which appears to match our own records" Number Three confirmed as he passed around printouts of stills of young Jack Thornton taken just hours earlier inside New Scotland Yard.
"That's our boy" one of the others confirmed as she checked this new image against an old record being displayed on a laptop computer.
"And looking in rude health for someone who officially has been dead for two years" Number Three agreed "It is impressive that he has managed to avoid appearing on the grid for all this time."
"If he possesses those missing files" de Wente continued "then he poses a clear and present danger to this organisation, which brings me on to the next major problem."
"The Regional Administrator General" Number Three remarked "How does our beloved Commander fit into young Jack's life?"
"He and his wife Tracy have just adopted him" de Wente explained "And that means potentially he could find out about our little group before we are ready to go online."
"Ah..." Number Three remarked "Very noble and humanitarian of him to help a lost sheep in this way but from our point of view a potential obstacle to our unilateral objectives."
"That is what I thought" de Wente agreed "Which is why I felt it necessary to bring this to the central committee's attention as soon as possible."
"You have done well" Number Three agreed "Very well, this is what we shall do. Number Nine, have your team do a full work up on little friend Jack here, the Commander, his close associates and establish exactly what he knows, is likely to find out and provide us with a full threat assessment for tomorrow."
"It's going to be tricky" Number Nine remarked "You don't just waltz into the Commander's ball park uninvited unless you have a lot of protection."
"I appreciate that this will be difficult" Number Three agreed "However these are difficult times."