This new thriller follows on directly from the conclusion of the story, The Green Side, though it also wraps up the questions raised by the last Henry story, Henry in Finkle Road. Henry Robert Atwood is now twenty-five, a TV personality and journalist resident in Rothenia, but in essence he is still the same Henry; quirky and over-curious, loving and humorous. Fortunately, there are some traits that develop in childhood and stay with us. Unfortunately, Henry has another legacy to deal with, the lost love of his student days, Gavin Price. It literally comes back to haunt him.

I must begin by regarding my gratitude to the amazingly tolerant and responsive editors and readers that make this story something of a joint enterprise: Rob and Terry M in particular; but the amusing and literate reviews of James, Eldon, Terry A and Andrew were always positive and helpful.

New readers who don't want to read the back story to this saga (and I can hardly blame them) might appreciate a cast list at this point.

Henry Robert Atwood (25) : younger son of the Reverend Robert and Mrs Marjorie Atwood. Graduate of the English university of Cranwell (between Reading and Swindon). A journalist and media personality living in the mythical central European monarchy of Rothenia (formerly Ruritania), wedged somewhere between the Czech Republic, Bavaria and Austria.

Edward Cornish (26) : devoted partner of Henry since their days in King Edward VI School Medwardine. Graduate of Cranwell and career soldier. A newly-promoted colonel of the guard in the Rothenian army, 'the only man who could put up with Henry's mess' (quote).

Rudolf Elphberg, Rudolf VI, or 'Rudi' (26) : king of Rothenia, schoolfellow of Henry and Ed. Graduate of Oxford. Married to ...

Harriet (Harry) Peacher (25) daughter of the entrepreneur and multi-billionaire, Richard Peacher. Currently very pregnant and not enjoying it. Younger twin sister of ...

Edward (Eddie) Peacher (25) completing doctoral research in the English department of the University of Cranwell under the direction of ...

Dr Paul Oscott (31) establishing himself as an authority on conspiracy theory in literature, Senior Lecturer in English in the University of Cranwell, married to Rachel and father of ...

Matthew Andrew (Mattie) Oscott (9) close friend of ...

Damien Macavoy (9) friend of Reggie Mayer (9), co-pupil at Strelzen International School, Damien being the rather remarkable son of ...

Justin Peacher-White, formerly Macavoy, (27), sometime petty criminal, gardener, security consultant and now Senior Vice-President of the Peacher Corporation (Europe) living in Strelzen, Rothenia, life partner of ...

Nathan Underwood (26) formerly garden centre manager and now studying botany in the Rodolfer Universitšt, Strelzen.

David (Davey) Skipper (25), close friend of Henry Atwood at Medwardine School and graduate of the Business School of Cranwell University. Clubland entrepreneur and band manager. Lover of ...

Terence (Terry) O'Brien (30), graduate of John Adams College, VA. Security consultant and former boss of Justin. Probably the most dangerous gay in the western world.

Dr Matthew White (33) graduate of Cranwell University. Male model and media entrepreneur. Adoptive father of Justin Peacher-White and civil partner of ...

Sir Andrew Peacher (33) eldest son of Richard Peacher. Formerly of Rugby School, graduate of John Adams College, VA. Philanthopist and authority on childhood deprivation. Adoptive father of Justin. His younger brother ...

Peter Peacher (28) is President and CEO of PeacherCorp Europe and civil partner of ...

Oskar von Tarlenheim (33) former porn star, now count of Modenheim and chief of staff to King Rudolf. His younger brother ...

Franz VI, or Fritz, (21) is count of Tarlenheim and prince of the Holy Roman Empire, just graduated from the Harvard Business School.

William Vincent (33), English-born, onetime lover of Oskar, now naturalised Rothenian, is CEO of Strelsenermedia and its main outlet, Eastnet, the Rothenian based media news network, and boss of Henry Atwood.

Dr Phil Maddox (31), Reader in English at Stevenage University, friend of Matt and Andy and lover of ...

Ben Craven (32), CEO of Wardour Publishing Ltd, and university friend of Matt and Andy, former lover of ...

Alex Johnson (33), foreign editor of the Guardian newspaper.

And not forgetting the mysterious Gavin Michael Price (deceased) former lover of Henry at Cranwell University, whose end was detailed in Henry in Finkle Road, and his friend ...

Mark Tolmie (also deceased) who goes by the name of Elijah and committed suicide at the age of twenty over a decade before these events, and who first appears in After Alex.