From award-winning British author, Michael Pearce, comes the first in a new series introducing Seymour of Special Branch. Trieste in 1906 is one of Europe's great seaports, the Austrian Empire's main outlet to the Mediterranean and the world beyond. But various nationalist movements are threatening to pull the place apart. The heavy-handed militarist regime has trouble keeping a lid on it, the secret police are everywhere, and now the British consul has gone missing. Was this the result of an ill-advised liaison? Could he have fallen afoul of the secret police, or the even more secret revolutionaries? The Austrian police are of course investigating, but the Foreign Office would prefer this matter to be handled with sensitivity. Britain has commercial interests in the port after all, so perhaps it would be wise to send someone out--someone very special from Special Branch who is capable of speaking the relevant languages; a good officer, but not someone British. That someone should be born here, lived here, but a member of, say, an East End immigrant family from somewhere in Europe. You can never quite rely on them. A bit dubious really, but just the man for the job.