At his funeral the bells of the church were rung open rather than half-muffled, as is usual for the dead. Kate Lockhart has come along with corporate leaders, ministers and intelligence chiefs to a beautiful town in the Welsh Marches to mourn her soul mate, David Eyam, the brightest government servant of his generation. All that remains of Eyam are the burnt fragments of a man killed far from home in a horrific explosion. Eyam has left a devastating legacy which certain people at the funeral are desperate to suppress - but Kate Lockhart is equal to Eyam's legacy. She becomes the focus of the state's paranoiac power and leads the local resistance to it, directed from beyond the grave by Eyam. And the state is no match for the genius of the dead...