Set in the uncomfortably near future, Britain has suffered a massive biological terrorist attack. The result is a disease that rivals the Plague in its mercilessness. The symptoms are easy to spot. They cover every inch of skin: disfiguring, blighting and rotting with shocking rapacity.

But this is a disease custom-made to cause the greatest amount of suffering and misery. Victims seldom die quickly, and the contagion, called ‘Foedus’ only affects women. Forced to hide their ravaged flesh, the women of Britain adopt the burqa, are forced to stay at home for ‘reasons of hygiene’ and can only visit public places with a male escort.

So when Devina, a refugee, falls into the hands of a gang of ambitious petty criminals, it is clear that her apparent immunity to Foedus is potentially worth a fortune to anyone searching for a cure. But the State doesn’t want to pay millions for what might be a hoax, so rookie agent Dan Rhodes is thrown the impossible task of tracking down the kidnappers before their ransom deadline expires.

Despite his inexperience, Dan realises there is much more going on than he has been told. His boss, Trevor Jenkins, has already hinted that Dan’s mission is ‘off the books’. But what else could Jenkins want with the girl except to hand her over to the medical team waiting in a secret lab?

Richard Simmons is very much the leader of the kidnappers, but are his two sidekicks as loyal as they pretend? And just how badly has Foedus affected the mind of his wife, Fiona? Maybe her mental scars will turn out to be the ugliest of all.

In a race against the clock, true identities and motives are exposed; and the truth is spotlighted against a backdrop of veiled faces and rabid prejudice.

In the War on Terror, the mirror has become a secret weapon.

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