Soho, London, July 1936, and Meredith Kerr is spending another drunken evening in the stifling company of three men. The rich Mosleyite, Harry Bowden wants her for himself, but accepts that he'll have to share her with the others- Billy Royle, who runs Bowden's car showroom, and the homeless, lovesick drunk, Arthur Lawler. It has been a long time since Meredith Kerr allowed herself to contemplate what she wanted for herself. Then, through the cigarette fog of the saloon bar, she glimpses Kit Renton and, instinctively, she knows that this is the man who will change her life. But when they eventually meet she discovers that he is leaving for Barcelona, where he will fight for the Spanish Republic against Franco's rebel forces. And so begins a terrifying journey for them both - which will bring them close to death before, finally, they can face the obstacles keeping them apart.
Chris Paling is the author of five novels, After the Raid, Deserters, Morning All Day, The Silent Sentry and Newton's Swing. He lives in Brighton.