Twenty years retired, David Cartwright can still spot when the stoats are on his trail. And he's not as defenceless as they might think. Jackson Lamb worked with Cartwright back in the day. He knows better than most that this is no vulnerable old man. “The old bastard” has raised his grandson with a head full of guts and glory. But far from joining Spook Street, River Cartwright is consigned to Lamb's team of no-hopers at Slough House. So it's Lamb they call to identify the body when Cartwright's panic button raises the alarm at Service HQ. And Lamb who will do whatever he thinks necessary, to protect an agent in peril . . .