The fifth Inspector O’Rorke novel.

In the spring of 1885, as New Zealand and Australia are gripped by fears of imminent Russian invasion, tension is heightened even more by the arrival in Lyttelton of a Russian scientific expedition under the command of Prince Alexis Gregorovitch Romanov - once known as the ‘Butcher of Warsaw’ but now intent on collecting rare Maori artifacts for his cousin the Czar of Russia.

This not only poses major political and security problems for the Colonial Volunteer Defence Force’s commander, General Sir George Whitmore, and his assistants the veteran Colonel Jamieson and Inspector Patrick O’Rorke, but Romanov’s visit stirs deep and dangerous passions amongst the country’s small Polish community. It also alarms local Maori seeking the return of priceless taonga stolen from their ancient and sacred burial sites of Murihiku, and their fears are increased by the simultaneous appearance in Christchurch of the mysterious and sinister Boyland the Collector and a second buyer of artifacts, the Prussian Count von Krefeld.

Running like a lighted fuse through A Present for the Czar, and linking the many strands that make up the fabric of the most complex of all the O’Rorke plots so far, is the story of the final disintegration of the career of the politician Edward Wilberforce. And as O’Rorke becomes aware of its full ramifications, and the involvement of his friend Rebecca Rothstein and her secretary Janet Robertson in dangerous conspiracies that threaten their lives, he must also deal with the consequences of Kate Martin’s return. So he is faced with a series of stark personal choices - not only between the women in his life - but of crucial significance for his entire future.


Edmund Bohan

BOHAN, Edmund (1935 - ) is an historian and fiction writer who is a leading authority on 19th century New Zealand political history. He is also a former professional singer who, during a long career of over forty years, sang all over the world and released a number of commercial recordings. Bohan's first published books, written while he was touring Britain as a singer, were historical novels for junior readers, The Writ of Green Wax (1990), and The Buckler (1972). During his time in the UK he was also commissioned to write a centennial history of the Incorporated Society of Musicians The First Hundred Years (1982). On his return to New Zealand in 1987 Bohan decided to devote more time to writing and historical research. The first book published after his return was the acclaimed biography Edward Stafford: New Zealand's First Statesman (1994). The Daily Telegraph writes: "The book is essential reading for all interested in New Zealand history, philosophy or politics." The Nelson Evening Mail describes it as "a tour de force, one of the finest political biographies of the last decade."

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Series: Inspector O`Rorke

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