From the bestselling author of The American Boy, a No.1 Sunday Times best-seller and a Richard & Judy Book Club choice, comes another gripping historical crime novel Over 1 Million Andrew Taylor Novels Sold! 'An absolute delight in a series that goes from strength to strength' S. G. McLean, prize-winning author of the Seeker series 'This is Taylor at his unassailable best' Financial Times London 1671The damage caused by the Great Fire still overshadows the capital. When a man's brutally disfigured body is discovered in the ruins of an ancient almshouse, architect Cat Hakesby is ordered to stop restoration work. It is obvious he has been murdered, and Whitehall secretary James Marwood is ordered to investigate. It's possible the victim could be one of two local men who have vanished - the first, a feckless French tutor connected to the almshouse's owner;the second, a possibly treacherous employee of the Council of Foreign Plantations. The pressure on Marwood mounts as Charles II's most influential courtiers, Lord Arlington and the Duke of Buckingham, show an interest in his activities - and Marwood soon begins to suspect the murder trail may lead right to the heart of government. Meanwhile, a young, impoverished Frenchwoman has caught the eye of the king, a quiet affair that will have monumental consequences...