A thriller set in and around the insidious area of London known as Seven Dials: a warren where seven narrow streets collide — and where vice, iniquity, and cold-blooded murder are everyday occurrences. In this scene Thomas Pitt, shrewd mainstay of the London police, confronts a fifteen-year-old crime that has current lethal repercussions. . . In the first gray of a mid-September morning, Thomas Pitt is summoned to Connaught Square mansion where the body of a junior diplomat lies huddled in a wheelbarrow. Nearby stands the tenant of the house, the beautiful and notorious Egyptian woman Ayesha Zakhari, who falls under the shadow of suspicion. Pitt’s orders, emanating from Prime Minister Gladstone himself, are to protect — at all costs — the good name of the third person in the garden: senior cabinet minister Saville Ryerson. This distinguished public servant, whispered to be Ayesha’s lover, insists that she is as innocent as he himself is. Could it be true? In the dead man’s less-than-stellar reputation, Pitt finds hope. But in ancient Alexandria, where the victim has once been an army officer, hope grows dim. For there, Pitt receives intimations of deadly entanglements stretching from Egyptian cotton fields to Manchester cotton mills, from the noxious London slum known as the Seven Dials to the madhouse called Bedlam. Meanwhile, in a packed courtroom at the Old Bailey, time is ticking away for Ayesha Zakhari and Saville Ryerson. Racing with the hangman, Pitt’s clever wife, Charlotte, hands him the precious shreds of evidence that bring the trial to its pulse-pumping climax.