In this moments-after sequel to Foreign Affairs (2015), Stone Barrington acquires an English country estate, a brand-new enemy, and a corpse on his front lawn.
The corpse, the least consequential of these three developments, is that of Sir Richard Curtis, Stone’s new neighbor when he purchases Windward Hall from Sir Charles Bourne, a dying family friend of Stone’s sometime lover Dame Felicity Devonshire, head of MI6. Wilfred Burns, a hermit who’s left the Royal Marines, where he served with Sir Charles and Sir Richard, to live quietly on the Windward grounds, promptly confesses to the crime and hangs himself in his cell. Stone’s not satisfied with the confession, but it’s hard for him (or the reader) to keep his mind on it when he’s preoccupied with an orgy of consumer spending—not just the Windward estate, but a splendid pair of paintings, a new Bentley, and a wardrobe suitable for a country squire—and the attentions of his new lover, interior decorator Susan Blackburn. Not to mention Dr. Don Beverly Calhoun, who’s taken offense at Hell’s Bells, the smashing new fictional film directed by Stone’s son, Peter, because he thinks it’s a libelous portrait of the Chosen Few, the religious cult he leads. Calhoun threatens lawsuits but delivers stalkers with guns, all of them handily confiscated by Stone’s colleagues in New York and Connecticut law enforcement. When Calhoun makes an offer on Curtis House, the prospect of having him as a neighbor is more than Stone can abide, and the two declare open war on each other. Complications ensue, but they’re never all that complicated.
As Stone continues to bed top women, buy every piece of real estate in sight, and vanquish the competition with the wave of a hand, you can’t help but be struck by his increasing resemblance to Donald Trump. Or is that suggestion grounds for a libel suit?