16.07.19 / Titan Books / Urban Fantasy / Paperback / 416pp / 978-1785657115
About The Spider Dance
THE TRUE COLD WAR IS FOUGHT ON THE BORDERS OF THIS WORLD, AT THE EDGES OF THE LIGHT.
It’s 1965 and Christopher Winter is trying to carve a new life, a new identity, beyond his days in British Intelligence. Recruited by London’s gangland he now finds himself on the wrong side of the law – and about to discover that the secret service has a way of claiming back its own. Who is the fatally alluring succubus working honeytraps for foreign paymasters? What is the true secret of the Shadowless, a fabled criminal cabal deadlier than the Mafia? And why do both parties covet long- buried caskets said to hold the hearts of kings? Winter must confront the buried knowledge of his own past to survive – but is he ready to embrace the magic that created the darkness waiting there?
Extract of The Spider Dance
The woman in the picture had a sleek black bob, almost brutally geometric. There was a wide, unmistakably sensual span to her mouth, the lips full but set in a stern, confident line. The image itself was flat and washed-out. Clearly a harsh lighting source had been used. Winter suspected it was a mugshot of some kind, a police photo or a portrait for a government dossier.
And yet the woman’s pupils were enlarged, defying the flashbulb that should have made them shrink.
He stared at the picture, engaged by those wide, kohl-shadowed eyes. For a moment a memory seemed to stir like dust. And then it was gone.
‘She’s vaguely familiar, I admit. But I can’t place her. Who is she?’
‘Alessandra Moltini. Italian extraction, as far as we can ascertain. Currently in Budapest. Employed by the state. Works honeytraps, and pretty irresistible bait by all accounts. She’s compromised a fair number of foreign officials over the past few years, including some of our own men. Photographs, blackmail, the usual filthy snare. Now she wants out.’
‘She wants to defect?’
Faulkner nodded, briskly. ‘Needless to say, we could use her knowledge to establish an accurate register of exactly who the party is manipulating. Use those people to our advantage. Start to feed back some disinformation, find the faultlines. Sabotage the whole infrastructure. Make it work for us.’
Winter absorbed this in silence. Only one question occurred to him. ‘What the hell has this got to do with me?’
Faulkner tapped the photograph. ‘I want you to get her out.’
‘This is a simple extraction job. Anyone can do it. Cracknell can do it. She’s good enough. Give her a promotion.’
Libby gave an ironic little smile from her position by the window. And then she continued to munch her apple. Faulkner regarded Winter with his imperturbable blue eyes. ‘She’s asked for you by name.’
It was a clear play for his curiosity. But Winter resisted.
‘I don’t know this woman. Never met her, not that I recall. I certainly don’t owe her any favours. I owe you even less.’
‘I’m not asking you for a favour, Winter.’
‘Well, it was your best option, Sir Crispin. I’m all out of patriotic duty.’
He turned and began to walk to the lift. No need to get involved with any of this, he told himself. There would be other opportunities available to him: he had the skills and he had the experience. He could carve his own fortune any time, far from a government payroll. The shadow war against the Reds was no longer his war.
‘She didn’t ask for Christopher Winter,’ Faulkner said, without raising his voice. ‘She asked for Tobias Hart.’
Winter paused. The fish hook had landed, expertly cast by the old bastard.
About Nick Setchfield
Nick Setchfield is a writer, editor and entertainment journalist whose work has appeared in SFX and Total Film. He’s also been a film reviewer for the BBC and a scriptwriter for ITV’s Spitting Image. He lives in Bath.