The time frame is the 1920’s and we are drawn into the thick of a plot that revolves around a young Winston Churchill. Having tasted political office as head of the British Admiralty, he has been sent as the personal envoy of Prime Minister Ramsey with a message for US President Hoover.
The world is once again teetering toward war in Europe. The Germans are struggling to find a footing and a young upstart in the form of Adolf Hitler is making overtures on the German political scene. A group known as the Geneva group is influencing the finances of the world and involved with factions of the Irish Republican Army who are trying to over throw, members of the Free State of Ireland. The historical factions of the novel are especially true to life, giving a strong factual feel to this fictional story.
Churchill is travelling with a personal bodyguard, a female journalist, Mattie, and employee of Randolph Hearst the publisher and members of the British Secret Service. But he goes out on a limb and employs young Irish American, Bourke Cockran, the son of the former Congressman from New York that Churchill befriended years previously. Cockran makes a hash out of everything he touches, as he doesn’t seem to comprehend that he is being followed by several groups of people. Even after his home, office and hotel room are burglarized and several people he associates with are killed, beaten or reaped, he does not seem to be able to turn around and notice the same, black sedan at every corner.
He does finally learn his lesson as on the run, with an arrest warrant for murder out on his head, he continues to knock heads with the IRA, German agents and even Al Capone’s gangsters until he manages to wreak revenge on his wife’s murderer and win the new girl to boot.
In a fast-paced, historical thriller, the first of a trilogy, McMenamin leaves us hoping Cockran’s skills as an investigator increase if he is to make it to the third book in one piece.