On the surface the De Vere family appear to have it all: Wealth, political power, and idyllic life split between their London mansion, Oxfordshire country house and their idyllic, sprawling Martha’s Vineyard estate.
But beneath the gilded façade, and the family’s apparently watertight bonds with one another, lie many secrets, some of them deadly. When the mistakes of youth refuse to stay buried, and generation old hatreds resurface, the De Veres find themselves on the brink of losing everything. How far will each of them go to conceal the truth and protect the family?
“Was there anything else, Home Secretary?”
Alexia De Vere smiled. Home Secretary. Surely the most beautiful two words in the English language. Except forPrime Minister, of course. The Tory party’s newest superstar laughed at herself. One step at a time, Alexia.
“No thank you Edward. I’ll call if I need you.”
Sir Edward Manning nodded briefly and left the room. A senior civil servant in his early sixties and bastion of the Westminster political establishment, Sir Edward Manning was as tall and grey and rigid as a matchstick. In the coming months, Sir Edward would be Alexia De Vere’s constant companion: advising, cautioning, expertly guiding her through the maze of Home Office politics. But right now, in these first few hours in the job, Alexia De Vere wanted to be alone. She wanted to savor the sweet taste of victory without an audience. To sit back and revel in the profound thrill of power.
After all, she’d earned it.
Getting up from her desk, she paced around her new office, a vast eyrie of a room perched high in one of the baroque towers of the Palace of Westminster. The interior design was more functional than fabulous. A matching pair of ugly brown sofas at one end (those must go), a simple desk and chair at the other, and a bookcase stuffed with dusty, un-read tomes of political history. But none of that mattered once you saw the view. Spectacular didn’t begin to cover it. Floor to ceiling windows provided a panoramic vista of London, from the towers of Canary Wharf in the east to the mansions of Chelsea in the west. It was a view that said one thing and one thing only.
And it was all hers.
I am theHome Secretary of Great Britain. The second most important member of Her Majesty’s Government.
The late novelist and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon remains one of the world’s top bestselling authors, having sold more than 300 million copies of his books. ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? was his most recent in a long line of huge hits on bestseller lists everywhere. He is also the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony, and an Edgar. THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS heralds him as the most translated author in the world.
Tilly Bagshawe is a New York Times Bestselling author. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and London with her husband and children.
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