Jay Mason is experiencing a crisis of faith.
Disillusioned with his calling as a Deacon in the Anglican Church of Geneva, and estranged from his pregnant girlfriend, he's about to fall into the murky world of celebrity grave-robbing. His church has been bought by the shadowy antiquities dealer Joseph Moholy, who arrives to claim its most interesting asset: the toe bone of Thomas Becket. Moholy has a large collection of dubiously acquired relics and is keen to add to his collection. Jay, he decides, is the man to assist him. Jay finds that grave-robbing can be both lucrative and thrilling, however morally troubling for a man of God, and in Switzerland's cemeteries he finds a rich cast to work on: James Joyce, Richard Burton, John Calvin and Charlie Chaplin all receive his midnight attentions. But Moholy is a ruthless man whose ambitions are perilously high, and as Jay assists him in his search for the holy grail of relics, he puts himself and his loved ones in serious danger.
Richard Beard's most recent book is Acts of the Assassins, which was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize.
In the twenty years since his first book he has published critically acclaimed novels and narrative non-fiction, including Becoming Drusilla, the story of how a friendship between two men was changed by a gender transition.
He was formerly Director of the National Academy of Writing in London, and is now a Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo and has a Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. He is an optimistic opening batsman for the Authors Cricket Club.