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Charles Thoroughgood is now the recently-appointed chief of a reconstituted MI6, married to his predecessor's widow and tasked with halting the increasingly disruptive cyber attacks on Britain, which are threatening government itself and all the normal transactions of daily life - not to mention a missing nuclear missile-carrying submarine. At the same time another aspect of Charles Thoroughgood's past emerges with the murder of one of his former agents and the escape from prison of a former colleague turned traitor, whom Charles Thoroughgood had helped convict. Charles Thoroughgood ploughs a lonely furrow in Whitehall in his belief that all these elements are connected, a theory which dramatically gains credibility when his wife, Sarah, is kidnapped.
Greene would back him up. They wouldn’t want a fuss, especially if it became public. Michelle Blakeney leaned forward, her fingers resting on the closed laptop before her. It was the first time Charles had noticed it. No-one else had one. Laptops, too, he thought. But that could wait. ‘Of course, there’s no denying that mobiles are a threat,’ she said, sounding as if it were an effort to remain polite. ‘But in themselves they’re neutral. It’s the user who determines whether or not they are
the house if we all wear these. Trouble is, we’ll have to wait till they’ve finished with the first few steps of the stairs. Covered in bits.’ ‘There are other stairs off the kitchen.’ ‘Two lots of stairs?’ ‘Servants’ stairs.’ They put on their thin but voluminous white suits in silence. Charles led them around the tangle of lights and wires in the hall. Three more white suits were kneeling over the corpse, concealing all but Viktor’s splayed legs and hands. He remembered those hands from
signals?’ Michael Dunton shook his head. ‘He’s not even remotely conscious of his brother’s relationship with us. And we’ve no way of contacting him unless we pretended to be Configure. And that would unravel pretty quickly.’ ‘Okay.’ Tim put both hands on the table, edge-on again as if holding a ruler between his palms. ‘We brief ministers on Beowulf and on the possibility of approaching the Russians, but we don’t recommend it yet. We also tell them we are reserving judgement on whether the
immediately.’ There was a very slight pause. ‘The second thing is a message from Mr Mayakovsky. He wishes to know whether you are able to act for him concerning the properties he wishes to buy.’ There was a brief struggle between conscience and desire. Her desire was never to see Mr Mayakovsky again but she still felt, irrationally, as if she were potentially a cause of trouble to Charles and that she should therefore do what he wanted. She knew he didn’t see it like that but nevertheless she
Secretary without a serious case. He also knew nothing of what they were doing, beyond surmise. But they both stared solemnly back at him, Katya in surprise and shock, a rabbit in the headlights, Mr Mayakovsky like a dog that would like to bite but daren’t. ‘The message is simple. A department in Moscow has intermittent access to a computer here which in turn has access to sensitive government systems. Your specialist people outside Moscow have used their access to the first computer to get into