Peter Corris was born in Stawell, Victoria in 1942. When he was five his family left the country for Melbourne and he was educated at Melbourne High School and the University of Melbourne. After taking a Master's degree at Monash University and a PhD at the Australian National University (both in History), he was an academic, teaching and researching in various universities and a College of Advanced Education until 1975 when he gave up academia for journalism. He was literary editor of The National Times, 1980-81. He has travelled and lived for short periods in the Pacific, Britain, Europe and the USA.
When Cliff Hardy signs on as a bodyguard for charismatic populist Rory O'Hara, who is about to embark on a campaign of social and political renewal, it looks like a tricky job - O'Hara has enemies. A murder and a kidnapping cause the campaign to fall apart.
Hired to investigate the murder, Hardy uncovers hidden agendas among O'Hara's staff as well as powerful political and commercial forces at work. His investigation takes him from the pubs and brothels of Sydney to the heart of power in Canberra and the outskirts of Darwin. There he teams up with a resourceful indigenous private detective and forms an uneasy alliance with the beautiful Penelope Marinos, formerly O'Hara's PA.
A rogue intelligence agent becomes his target and Hardy stumbles upon a terrible secret that draws them into a violent - and disturbing - confrontation.