Håkan Söderström becomes separated from his brother Linus in the hustle and bustle of Portsmouth on their journey to New York to start a new life in the New World.
After mistakenly boarding a ship for San Francisco by way of Cape Horn, he finds himself in the West that is starting, slowly, to become sparsely populated with shanty towns and wagon trains, emigrants, prospectors and miners – and those who prey on them.
We follow in Håkan’s footsteps, and occasional travels on horseback, as he traverses the deserts the plains and the prairies, determined to get to New York to find his brother.
We see how few key encounters and experiences impact his life, and take our leave of The Hawk as he takes his of an ice bound ship en route to Alaska.
After solving the mystery of the Fishbourne Palace project overrun/overspend and keeping King Togidubnus onside, Falco and family decide to spend a few days in Londinium on their return home to Rome, visiting Helena’s uncle and aunt.
Unfortunately their arrival coincides with the apparent murder of King Togidubnus’ friend, Verovolcus, whose banishment to Gaul Falco engineered at the end of A Body in the Bath House.
Londinium, it seems, is starting to experience the less attractive side effects of Roman life – extortion rackets run by the big boys from Rome.
As Falco and Petro run parallel investigations, the will-they, won’t-they romance between Petro and Maia continues. We meet two ladies who loom large in Falco’s life – Chloris, Falco’s ex aka the notorious rope dancer, and a British orphan called Flavia Albia.
With toddler Julia and new baby Sosia Favonia in tow, Falco and Helena travel to Britannia where Falco has been tasked with sorting out a building project over spend and over run – we know the site as Fishbourne Palace. So it’s worth it in the end.
Sister Maia finds herself with them too, as a result of some subterfuge by Helena in cahoots with Petro, both concerned by what spurned admirer Anacrites might be plotting.
And given the Bath House theme, don’t be surprised at who Falco finds loitering in Britannia …