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“Why is everyone getting hacked off about Beth and her moods?” Something here smelled off, all this information suddenly cascading down over Travis’s desk at once. On Mab and me, too, Osla thought. “Beth’s one of the best people we’ve got—now is not the time to put her out on the tiles.”

“Thank you, Miss Kendall, Mrs. Gray.” Travis cut her off. “You may return to your posts. I imagine you’ll both be needed.”

Osla tried again. “Sir, this frankly looks like someone trying to nobble Beth. I don’t think—”

“Just don’t think, you silly deb,” one of the MI-5 swots snapped.

Osla’s eyes stung, but she would have kept arguing. Only it wasn’t going to do any good. Travis was pivoting in his chair, saying, “Can we close this matter, gentlemen? We’ve heard from the girl’s billet-mates; we’ve called in her section colleagues and her mother. You may have noticed that there is considerably more to do tonight than deal with one broken-down—”

The office door swung shut, cutting off his voice. Osla drew breath, puzzled and angry and full of foreboding, but a buzzing sounded overhead, outside. She looked at Mab, and they both bolted for the entrance hall and out the door. They stood, faces turned toward the rainy black sky, as codebreakers began spilling out of the mansion and blocks. Osla’s ears pounded as the shadows passed overhead under the clouds: hundreds and hundreds of RAF bombers towing gliders behind them, winging toward the channel.

“It’s started,” someone whispered, and then they were all shouting. “It’s started—it’s started!”

Nothing for it now. Osla ran for her block, Mab ran back into the mansion, and everything was forgotten except the fact that the invasion had at long last begun.

Chapter 66

Beth had no idea how long it took to pull herself together. When she stopped hiccupping and laughing and weeping, she lifted her swollen face from Boots’s neck and looked at Dilly Knox standing in the corner. He wasn’t really there, but it soothed her to pretend he was. “I know,” she said. “I have to go.” No time to go to pieces, no time to grieve for her broken friendships, no time for anything.

She scrubbed her eyes, fixed herself up with a sanitary towel, then put Boots on his lead and took him with her—who knew how long the invasion would keep her chained to her desk at ISK. Dear God, how was she going to work a double shift breaking Abwehr intercepts, knowing someone she trusted—maybe someone in the room—was selling information?

Put that away, she told herself, heading out under a dark, rain-lowering sky. Lock it in its own separate iron safe behind a wall panel, like the one in Dilly’s library.

She hoped to flag a ride to Bletchley Park, but no cars passed by. Beth was nearly howling with frustration by the time the transport bus arrived, full of codebreakers she didn’t know. How much had changed since she’d been recruited! The sleek triple-shifted operation of thousands merging seamlessly in and out of the new concrete blocks was nothing like the cheerful, frantic, slapdash days of the green huts. She climbed off the transport bus at the gates, determined to make her report to Commander Travis before losing herself in Abwehr until the invasion was over. Right now, the knots and byways of Abwehr looked like a haven. Beth hurried forward, fumbling for her pass.

“This is her.” A big jowly man in a checked suit stepped forward, gripping her shoulder in a massive hand. “The Finch girl.” He nodded at a shorter fellow in pinstripes smoking a Pall Mall by the guard station.

“What do you want?” Beth tried to tug away but it was like trying to move out from under a boulder. At her feet, Boots was whining. “I don’t know you—”

“We know you, missy.” The man in pinstripes sauntered over. “You’ve been talking about things you shouldn’t. Or maybe you’re just not right in the head. That’s for other people to figure out, fortunately.” He clipped her pass out of her hand and tossed it to the gate guard. “This pass is revoked, orders of Commander Travis. Bethan Finch is not to be allowed back inside Bletchley Park’s grounds.”

“What?” Beth’s voice scaled up. “No, I have to see Commander Travis—”

“Afraid that’s not possible, missy. He’s a very busy man right now.”

“It’s important. I have documents—” She remembered to whisper, aware of the passing flood of codebreakers making their way through the gates. Showing their passes, slipping through, looking sideways at the little knot of disturbance. “There is information being passed out of the Park. It’s very important—”

“Oh, I see. An informant? A spy?” The pinstriped man chuckled. “That’s what they said you’d say.”

“Who said?” What in God’s name had been happening over the last few hours? It had still been daylight when she left ISK with her Rose decrypts, no one giving her a second look—now she was being escorted from the premises?

A gesture to the jowly man gripping Beth’s shoulder. “Take her.”

Boots barked wildly, towed by the lead around Beth’s wrist as she was frog-marched toward a long black Bentley. “Just ten minutes with Commander Travis—”

They ignored her completely. Pinstripes leaned in to the driver. “You have the address for Clockwell Sanitarium?”

“Yes, not the first time I’ve driven a cracked-up boffin to the loony bin.”

Beth heard the word sanitarium and went mad. She clawed the jowly man’s hand off her shoulder, drawing blood from his knuckles, and turned to sprint for the gates. But Boots was still barking and wheeling on his lead, and she stumbled over him, going down hard on the road. The jowly man was on her then, picking her up bodily and carrying her to the car. The lead fell off her wrist as she thrashed and shouted. Every Bletchley Park codebreaker within fifty yards was staring.

“Don’t mind her,” Pinstripes called briskly. “She’s had a bit of a crack-up, and now she’s going for a rest.” Beth realized with a splinter’s clarity how it looked: the shiny, official car; the shiny, official men; the wild-haired woman with her swollen eyes, her crumpled clothes, her snarls and howls.

She threw herself at Jowls again as he slid into the car after her, but he captured her wrists, muttering, “So you’re one of those . . .”

“Please,” Beth babbled to the driver, “you can’t take me to a sanitarium, I haven’t had a crack-up, I have evidence of an informer—”

But the driver didn’t respond, and Beth’s eyes were drawn to the flash of silver as Jowls drew something out of his coat. She twisted frantically as the car started up, staring out the back window, gulping in a breath to shriek—and then she felt the prick of a needle through her sleeve.

The last thing she saw before everything went dark was the woolly gray shape of her dog, blundering up and down the shadowed road, dragging his lead behind him, as the Bentley pulled away.

SHE WOKE SLOWLY, to the smell of cigarettes and rain. Her entire body felt heavy, her skull stuffed with wool, her mouth dry.

The backseat was shadowed with gray light, empty besides herself. It was barely dawn, the Bentley parked on a barren hillside clouded with morning mist and spiky gorse. She couldn’t see Jowls or Pinstripes—just the driver in the front seat. He’d cracked one window open enough to tap his cigarette outside.

“You’re awake.” He looked around: a blocky man, nondescript, middle-aged. A complete stranger. “We’re out of petrol, if you’re wondering where the other blokes are. They hoofed it to the station a few miles ahead to get a jerry can. MI-5 gets all the petrol coupons they need, you know. I said I’d sit with you.”

Beth glanced groggily at the door handle, wondering if she could make a run for it.

“Don’t try,” he said, seeing her glance. “The needle stick you’ve had, you’ll be moving like you’re dipped in treacle. Besides, we’re in the middle of the Yorkshire moors; nothing about but gorse and the odd sheep.”

Yorkshire. They must have been driving all night. What was the place they had mentioned—Clockwell Sanitarium? What is that? Where’s my dog? Her senses still felt dulled; the terror wasn’t slicing her to pieces the way it had at Bletchley Park’s gates. “Who are you?”

“Just the driver.” He took another drag off his cigarette. “Driving for these London fellows doesn’t pay as much as it should, so I’m not averse to making the odd shilling on the side . . . and before we left BP, someone paid me five quid to give you something, assuming I could get you alone.”


“Not saying is part of the five quid.”

“I’ll pay you,” Beth said desperately. “If you let me out, I’ll—”

“No chance, duck. Five quid to pass on a message no one else will ever see is one thing. Letting you go is trouble I don’t need. You want the message or not?”

Beth swallowed. “Yes.”

He poked a folded sheet of paper across the seat divider. Beth shook as she read the terse, typewritten words.

I saw the report you broke in ISK. I want to know what you did with it, and the others. Tell the driver yes and I’ll find a way for you to send word from Clockwell. Once I’ve had a bonfire in the grate, I’ll see you’re released.