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Marcus Blake leaned back in his chair, put his feet up on the desk and thought about the year that had flown by since Afghanistan. His ramshackle security agency had not improved much in that year. He had taken on a secretary, a young widow by the name of Vereen who had a four year old son, and the only acquisition that could be said to have improved the business. Vereen worked for three days each week; anymore would have meant losing her benefits. Of those who had applied for the job, Marcus liked Vereen the most. There were few takers, considering the hours and the meagre pay, but she fitted the bill, had the necessary personal skills and wanted an opportunity to keep in touch with workday routines. Her mother was Jamaican, her father English and she lived near them on a council estate in South London. Vereen opened the door and walked in. She dropped a folder on his desk. ‘You got a phone call this morning.’ Marcus took his feet off the desk. ‘Who was it?’ ‘Sir Giles Cavendish, whoever that is. You moving in posh circles now?’ Marcus felt an inward groan surfacing; any interest from Cavendish could not be good news. ‘Sometimes I wish I wasn’t,’ he admitted. ‘What did he want?’ ‘He wants to see you, said he’d be here about now.’ Marcus grunted and looked at his watch. ‘Who is he?’ Vereen asked. ‘An old client?’ Marcus thought of Afghanistan again and missile attacks, drugs, child smuggling and killing dear friends. ‘You could say that,’ he said after a while. ‘Make yourself scarce when he comes, Vereen. If I need you, I’ll give you a shout.’ One other improvement to the agency during the previous twelve months was the purchase of a room next to his office. Although Marcus did not need money, the fee paid by Her Majesty’s government for his services in Afghanistan had been handsome; it was enough to buy a fair chunk of prime real estate in the city. But all he wanted, or needed, was to double the size of his agency. Vereen used it as an office, but it was really a repository for anything Marcus didn’t want or didn’t know what to do with.

Marcus Blake, who appeared in A Covert War, is again asked to help Sir Giles Cavendish, one time boss of MI6, to look into the death of a government cabinet minister who was supposed to have committed suicide. A suicide note was found with the body in the minister’s handwriting, but the official verdict was cancer. Sir Giles believes that the minister was murdered, and asks Blake to use his intuitive skills to unearth the secrets behind the death of this government minister. Marcus and his part-time secretary, Vereen, get drawn into a web of deceit, satanic worship and high powered corruption.

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