Here is a special treat for you…
A sneak preview of Lies, Damned Lies, and History!
I’ve never been one for rules. They don’t really seem to apply to me. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve had to stand in front of someone’s desk while they talked at me, sometimes for some considerable length of time. The only good thing is that usually, it’s only me involved.
But not this time. This time I was in serious trouble. This time I’d done something really bad. Never mind that I thought it was for the best of reasons. This time I’d really gone too far.
I couldn’t complain. Not long ago, Dr Bairstow, who always saw further than anyone else at St Mary’s, had tried to warn me, saying, ‘You need to take care, Max. Great care. You are beginning to tread the line between what is acceptable and what is not. From there, it only takes the smallest step to find you have stepped over that line and that you have done the wrong thing for the right reasons. I am warning you, in future, to be very, very careful.’
I should have listened to him and I didn’t. This time, I’d not just crossed the line – I’d practically pole-vaulted over it.
And this time I’d involved Peterson – whose future at St Mary’s was looking very shaky indeed.
And Markham who, thanks to me, would now probably never succeed Major Guthrie as head of the Security Section.
And that wasn’t the worst of it. People had lost their jobs. Roberts, my youngest historian had given in his notice. He’d insisted on trying to take all the blame. There had been a brief shouting session with Dr Bairstow and then Roberts was gone, hurling himself through the front doors and crashing the gears of his car in his haste to get down the drive and out of the gates. With the state he was in, I shouldn’t have let him go, but there was no holding him.
And David Sands – long-time friend and ally. He’d resigned, too.
And possibly the worst of all, the Chancellor of the University of Thirsk, Dr Chalfont, who had fought our corner on so many occasions – she was out as well. She’d stood her ground and argued for us – which was good of her because she’d been more furious with me than anyone else, Dr Bairstow included – and the knives that had been waiting for this opportunity for years came out. She’d been allowed to retire. Ill health, they said, but that was just for public show. I’d got her sacked as well. And Dr Bairstow was only hanging on by the skin of his teeth.
I’ve done some stupid things. I’ve been reckless, but never have I ruined so many lives or left such a trail of destruction behind me.
I suppose the story begins with Bashford’s attempt to emulate William Tell.