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The first in a rich and atmospheric new historical crime series, full of action, vivid characters and conspiracy.
Napoleon and his armies are at the gate of the ancient walled city of Lucca, Italy. In one last desperate attempt to preserve their proud heritage, the Lucchese Council despatch a secret message to their compatriots in England. Unknown to them, ruthless conspirators have got there first. But neither they nor the Council know quite what they are looking for, and the one man who could have told them has just entered a church near the prosperous Italian silk community on the London borders, and slit his own throat.
Witness to this gruesome death is Mabel Flinchurst. When her good friend, a vagrant boy called Toby, is kidnapped, she is caught up in a conspiracy beyond her understanding. She has no idea that the fate of a small Italian city lies in her hands, and that she, and now anyone connected to her, is in mortal danger...
Clio Gray was born in Yorkshire and lived in Leeds for many years before moving up to the east coast of Scotland in 1992. Having always been a bibliophile, she has worked in libraries for the last 20 years. She has won several short competitions, and was awarded the Harry Bowling Prize for Guardians of the Key, which is her first novel.