The ChÃ¢teau Letoric is the ancestral home of the highly respected Larche family obsessed with the past, with bitterness, rancour and revenge.
Solange is one of France's most poignant Resistance heroines but, badly tortured, now senile, the repository of many dark secrets, she has been confined to a wheel chair since the end of the war.
Her husband Henri was accused of collaborating with the Nazis. Their son, Marius, at forty-eight a senior officer in Interpol, has been fighting to clear his father's name. But Marius himself is also vulnerable in St Esprit where his past - a homosexual affair with a farm-worker - rises to plague him.
Suddenly the years of tongue-wagging culminate in the first of three fatal tragedies: Henri Larche is murdered.
The paralysis of a town trapped in the past is powerfully evoked in this superbly skilful story of a family whose dread secrets hound them to a death which has been forty-five years coming.
Anthony Masters is the author of eleven works of adult fiction - notably, Conquering Heroes (1969), Red Ice (1986, with Nicholas Barker), The Men (1997), The Good and Faithful Servant (1999) and Lifers (2001) - and, prior to his death, was in the process of completing another, Dark Bridges, which he thought would be his best. Many of these works carry deep insights into social problems that he gained, over four decades, by helping the socially excluded, be it by running soup kitchens for drug addicts or by campaigning for the civic rights of gypsies and other ethnic minorities. Masters is also known for his eclectic range of non-fiction titles. It ranged from the biographies of such diverse personalities as Hannah Senesh (The Summer that Bled, 1972), Mikhail Bakunin (Bakunin: the Father of Anarchism, 1974), Nancy Astor (Nancy Astor: A Life, 1981) and the British secret service chief immortalized by Ian Fleming in his James Bond books (The Man Who Was M: the Life of Maxwell Knight, 1984), to a history of the notorious asylum Bedlam (Bedlam, 1977).
Anthony Masters was renowned as an adult novelist, short story writer and biographer, but was best known for his fiction for young people.
Many of his novels carry deep insights into social problems, which he experienced over four decades by helping the socially excluded. He ran soup kitchens for drug addicts and campaigned for the civic rights of gypsies and other ethnic minorities. Masters is also known for his eclectic range of non-fiction titles, ranging from the biographies of such diverse personalities as the British secret service chief immortalized by Ian Fleming in his James Bond books (The Man Who Was M: the Life of Maxwell Knight).
His children's fiction included teenage novels and the ground breaking Weird World series of young adult horror, published by Bloomsbury. He also worked with children both in schools and at art festivals. Anthony Masters died in 2003.