The car jolts to a halt at the pavement's edge, the driver waving through the windscreen to attract Richard's attention.
He starts with astonishment. The driver is Gemma, his ex-wife. He has not seen or spoken to her for several years.
They have, she memorably assured him the last time they met, nothing to say to each other.
But something has changed her mind - something urgent... Immediately Richard is catapulted into a breathless race against time that takes him from London, across northern Europe and into the heart of a mystery that reaches back into history - the fate of Anastasia, youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs.
From that moment, Richard's life will be changed for ever in ways he could never have imagined...