The Reverend John Goode can’t believe his eyes; the lead thieves who beat him savagely the last time they visited are here again, but this time the damage they do is far more devastating: they almost destroy his church by caving in the roof, falling through it to do more damage to the floor beneath, uncovering steps to a previously unknown crypt, mostly blocked off by debris, but there is a small hole, indicating a larger, still hidden area beyond. John looks through and is instantly horrified; he has caught the glint of gold. He quickly blocks up the hole again, believing that he must keep the find secret, for his own and the church’s sake, but eventually his conscience forces him to report the find.
The massive treasure is that of Harald Hardrada, the ‘Hard Ruler’ of Norway, who had hidden his vast fortune for safety before sailing north to do battle against Harold Godwinson for the Throne of England, and worth an estimated eight billion pounds in today’s terms.
The British and Norwegian Prime Ministers are at loggerheads concerning the disposal of the hoard, and every major criminal organisation in Europe is looking for ways to steal it. Some try, with varied and interesting results.
Disgraced ex-special agent Lars Fredricksson is brought in to infiltrate the Norwegian extreme right-wing Odinist Party, seen as the most dangerous threat to the treasure’s equable disposal between the two nations, and becomes close to Egon Hartman, the psychopathic assassin who is the right-hand man of the megalomaniac leader, Professor Herringfors. Lars passes to the Norwegian PM the details of the Odinist plans to steal the hoard. He knows it all – except the actual date, which is different to the one he has been deliberately fed.
His cover is blown and he is strapped down on a gurney, threatened with emasculation by two crazy women, and one of them is coming at him with a large scalpel in her hand and a leer on her face…
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Jeremy Martyne has enjoyed his holiday in Rhodes and heads back to his home in the UK, looking forward to the next time he can go back to his other, hidden, life, happily unaware that it will never be. His death when his house explodes is the first in a series of apparently motiveless murders of retired Metropolitan police officers, made to look…