An elderly Irishman drowns after driving off a coast road in northern Spain. As he was drunk nothing more is thought of it until it emerges that he was the link man between the IRA and ETA, the Basque separatist group. He is known to have control of an arms dump in France from which he supplies ETA terrorists. MI6 in London are keen to identify and entrap the Irishman’s successor and Marion Hurley Brown, who is leading the search, identifies an ageing academic as the IRA man now responsible for the arms. In planning his entrapment she discovers from her opposite number and close friend in Spanish Intelligence that a senior member of ETA, Julieta Ibarra, is prepared to help put a stop to the bloodshed by assisting. But she will only cooperate with the British if she can nominate an independent, respected “referee”. Her choice is a retired, widowed, Professor of Gynaecology, Lucien McCulloch, a lover from way back. He is a man in need of an adventure. As the lives of the these disparate characters intertwine towards the dramatic denouement their personal journeys of discovery are revealed.

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