Magnus Pym, ranking diplomat, has vanished, believed defected. The chase is on: for a missing husband, a devoted father, and a secret agent. Pym's life, it is revealed, is entirely made up of secrets.
Andrew Osnard is an old Etonian and spy. His secret mission in Panama is two-pronged: to keep an eye on the political manoeuvrings leading up to the American handover of the Panama Canal on 31st December 1999, and to secure for himself the immense private fortune that has thus far eluded him.
The Berlin Wall is toppled, the Iron Curtain swept aside. The Secret Pilgrim is Ned, a decent, loyal soldier of the Cold War, who has been in British Intelligence all his adult life. Now, approaching the end of his career, he is forced by the explosions of change to revisit his secret years.
Tim Cranmer, retired scret servant and Larry Pettifer, bored radical don, philanderer and for 20 years Tim's mercurial double agent against the now vanished Communist threat, have an unresolved rivalry that dates back decades. They follow each other to Moscow and then Southern Russia.