The bleak marshes of The Wash are a dramatic setting for the third political thriller by best-selling author and former Free Press and Guardian reporter, Geoffrey Seed.
The Boy From Zion Street tells how the secrets of a judge’s working class family are used to blackmail him in a Whitehall conspiracy during last year’s general election.
And the book has already met with critical praise, Game of Thrones star Patrick Malahide saying: “More than a thriller, more than a memoir, this is Geoffrey Seed’s best book so far.”
The story cuts between the judge’s chaotic 1950s upbringing in Manchester and a present-day plot which is both dark and murderous, according to the author.
During a childhood stay in Lincolnshire, the judge is saved from drowning on the marshes by a character inspired by the late ‘Kenzie’ Thorpe, the Sutton Bridge wildfowler.
A Free Press report of this fictional rescue becomes another clue in an unravelling mystery. But later events take a poignant – and deadly – turn.
Mr Seed knew the area from working in Spalding during the mid-1960s. He also enlisted the help of former Free Press colleagues, publisher Anne Loader (née Ward), and Patrick Prentice, a veteran foreign newsman at The Times and The Daily Telegraph.
“They were invaluable, not just for their eagle-eyed proof-reading but their local knowledge of the fens,” he said.
He also roped in another ex-Free Press journalist, John Thorne, the BBC’s former correspondent in Ireland, Australia and South Africa.
“John patched me into someone I needed in Whitehall so all in all, research for The Boy From Zion Street became something of a Free Press re-union.”
The Kindle edition became a best-seller on pre-orders alone. The book is now out in paperback on Amazon and has already been high in the charts.
Seed’s debut novel, A Place of Strangers, led Amazon’s best-selling political thriller lists on Kindle for months and the follow-up, The Convenience of Lies, was a top-ten hit, too.
One American reviewer wrote: “...(he) certainly has a place in the line of successors to le Carré.”
Mr Seed was flattered – but disagrees.
“Le Carré is incomparable. All we have in common are selfish and wayward fathers. But at least we both got books out of their frailties, le Carré with A Perfect Spy and me, far more modestly, with The Boy From Zion Street.”
After leaving Spalding, Seed worked for the Evening Telegraph in Peterborough, later joined a Fleet Street paper, then moved into television, producing international investigations for World in Action and BBC Panorama.