A man lies hidden in an abandoned boat. Stifling screams, he draws a knife across his arm, letting the blood flow free. Soon he'll be dead - and life can begin again.
Three decades later Declan McIlroy, a 39-year-old loner, is found frozen to death in his flat as Arctic temperatures grip the cathedral city of Ely. His is not the only cold death that winter, but nevertheless reporter Philip Dryden has worrying doubts - for it seems Declan may not have been alone as he slowly froze to death . . .
Dryden's suspicions harden when days later he finds the body of Declan's best friend Joe - frozen within a shell of ice on the doorstep of his secluded Fenland farmhouse.
Soon Dryden is picking his way along a disturbing trail of cruelty and betrayal to a brilliantly executed crime. And to a chilling, half-remembered mystery from his own childhood . . .