Ashford, who specializes in putting personal principles to the test (A Question of Principle, The Honourable Detective), now has his characters wrestle with the question: When is it justified to break the law? Bowles, deputy director of the Home Office's witness-relocation program, is told by Det. Chief Insp. King that a terrorist attack on the Royals can be prevented if only he will reveal the whereabouts--and new identity--of informer Sanderson. Much niggling soul-searching later (and after rather ruthless fact-manipulation by King), Bowles caves in, setting in motion a debacle that will end in an undercover agent's torture and death, the breakup of a marriage, and the slow realization that the perceived threat to the Royals was a calculated hoax. Unsubtle enactment of a moral battle--gerrymandered by dull characters and a contrived situation.