(or how to make millions from partial exemption tax deductible percentages)
When VAT is introduced in 1973, Nick Storey is worried about the potential for fraud – especially in the financial sector. After he gets a tip-off about fishy business in two VAT offices, an undercover agent in one of them (City VAT Office) is murdered. Rosemary goes undercover in a merchant bank and identifies a corrupt VAT officer. But when Nick follows the man’s boss by accident, he discovers the frauds are to fund the Protestant side of the Northern Irish “Troubles”. After the boss is shot and the corrupt VAT officer vanishes, the trail to the leader of the fraud goes cold. But an unexpected opportunity arises to set a trap. Rosemary goes undercover in the City again and the leader is unmasked in the maze of back alleys in the City.
Rakvir Stagarnik, the son of a fisherman, is fortunate to attend the local school in Kerkrand, where he meets the son of the local ruler - and subsequently his sister, Arhilka, with whom he falls in love. Their affair is discovered and he has to flee, but is caught and enslaved by the brutal Magd warriors. After he makes his escape, he travels to the Empire of Kardakan, where he is taken into the Saldjaran's army, mainly because of his experience of the Magd and knowledge of their new weapon. He learns a greater understanding of the world, studying the qa'ad aq-La'at and learning also from a sceptic. He prospers at the court of the Saldjaran and is sent on several dangerous missions, on one of which he walks through fire to ensure the success of his mission. When the Magd eventually invade the neighbouring realms, he uses tactics has has developed to defeat them in small scale battles. But the main action is happening elsewhere and he must leave his army and return home to Kerkrand before the Magd besieging the castle succeed in capturing Arhilka and his family...............