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In the spring of 1914 the ominous but barely visible shadow of war is falling on Europe. Inadvertently wandering into Greece's febrile subterranean atmosphere of intrigue and espionage, Alex Cronin finds himself involved in a lethal political plot; and is presented with the chance to deflect the continent from its catastrophic course. Here finally is an opportunity to pursue his long-held ambition to emulate the achievements of his father and brother, and to make his own mark on the world. But he is set on resolving a disconcerting family enigma; and is preoccupied with his fervent love for a mysterious French countess. It soon becomes clear that however he orders these competing concerns the consequences are likely to be fatal.