Andrew Landford is driving home one night, along a dark country lane, when a barn owl flies into his windscreen. It is an accident, nothing more. However Andrew is in line to be the country's next prime minister. And he has recently been appointed to a parliamentary committee concerned with the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Barn Owls are protected species, and it is a crime to kill one. If Andrew acknowledges that he has killed the owl, he could be risking his political career.
With Andrew in the car is his old Oxford friend and political adviser, Charles Fryerne. An expert in communications, Charles has just joined the team that is masterminding Andrew's route to the Tory Party leadership, and from there to No 10 Downing Street. He has spent many years quietly building up a very successful career as a strategist.
But the death of the owl threatens to destroy not only Andrew's career, but everything that Charles has worked for too. Should they come clean, or hide the story and hope it goes away?
Paul Torday burst on to the literary scene in 2007 with his first novel, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN, an immediate international bestseller which has been translated into 28 languages and has been made into a film starring Ewan McGregor, Kristin Scott Thomas and Emily Blunt. His subsequent novels were all published to great critical acclaim. He lived close to the River North Tyne and died at home in December 2013. Piers Torday was born in Northumberland and is the eldest son of Paul Torday. He has worked in live theatre, comedy and TV and is the bestselling author of three children's books, THE LAST WILD, which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, THE DARK WILD, which won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2014, and THE WILD BEYOND. He lives in London.