Wellington, 1935. James Tinling, a former Cabinet Minister, plans a political comeback, although a brash newcomer stands in his way. James has methods of dealing with upstarts, but is handicapped by secrets in his life. Eric Clifton, world-rewned moon scientist, has secrets too. He lives hot-bloodedly and is at war with patrician James. Sam Holloway, literary man and moralist, records their year - its sexual intrigues and sudden violence and its overturning of political rms. What role does the young poet Owen Moody play, and brothel madam Lily Maxey? There's James's daughter Charlotte too, desperately painting in a garden shed; and Sam with his dozen friends at work on a composite detective vel. Election day. Labour wins, crushing James's party. His secrets are shockingly revealed. Maurice Gee's new vel is as good as anything he has ever written. Constantly surprising the reader, it combines good old-fashioned drama with a master writer's exquisite story-telling.
Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand's best-known writers. He has won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Britain and numerous awards and prizes in New Zealand. He is the author of both adult and children's novels, including the award-winning trilogy Plumb.
Runner-up for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Fiction Category 2004.