S is for Syndicate . . . of course. But it’s also for . . .

Scar. The unsightly legacy from a bomb blast, it covers half of Kavanagh’s face and is a metaphor for the significant scarring within.


T is for Tyneham. Cannot emphasise too strongly how affected I was by my visit to this ghost village just a short drive from Lulworth and Wareham.

The details in the novel are all true but I can only hope to convey a sense of the heartbreaking history of the village that was taken from its inhabitants by an unflinching bureaucracy with more pressing concerns.

Google it . . . or better still, visit it and see if it has the same effect on you as it did on Kavanagh.

U is for Ultimatum. “You’re not going to come out of it unscathed, Maurice. It’s going to hurt like hell and at some point you’re going to ask yourself if it was worth destroying this empire you’ve built for the sake of bringing some upstart rogue employee to his knees.”

V is for Vic Abraham, old-school sociopath, whose determination to put Kavanagh in his place is something you dismiss at your peril.

W is for Wareham. Historic market town and pretty riverside location in Dorset.

The cottage on its outskirts, which Kavanagh has inherited from his grandparents, provides a bolthole to which he can escape and pull up the drawbridge.

But just how safe is he?

Wareham, Dorset

X is for Xit Strategy (typo). No one leaves The Syndicate but, if you’re going to try, you need one of these. And it had better be a good one.

Y is for Yes . . . I cheated a bit with X.

            You think I’ll do the same with Z, I suppose.

            You’re wrong

ZZelda’s. The locals in Wareham are intrigued by the name Kavanagh has chosen for his bookshop. Some think it might commemorate some sort of romantic attachment in his past, the one who got away. They should read more widely.