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The story:
Tom Sedley’s idyllic summer vacation in a leafy post-war suburb of north London came to an abrupt and shocking end in September 1948 when his 14-year-old sister was brutally murdered in woodland near his house. A tramp was arrested for the crime, but Tom doubted his guilt. For the teenager it was the end of childhood and the beginning of a lifelong search to discover what had actually happened that late summer day.

Marcus Warwick was Tom’s neighbour and best friend, but the murder changed their relationship forever. Suspicion that Marcus knew more than he was saying about Sara’s death clouded Tom’s mind and they drifted apart. Two years later and unknown to each other, they were both sent to Korea as National Servicemen, Warwick as an officer, Sedley as a humble radio man. And when they finally came face to face in the chaos of war, it was clear that a chasm of mistrust and class had opened up between them. Their new, edgy relationship was tested in the savagery of the fighting that swept up and down the peninsula that first bleak winter. In the heat of battle, facing death from a Chinese bayonet, Tom’s discovery that he could barely trust Marcus with his life deepened his suspicions about the man’s involvement in his sister’s death.

The bitterness of what they experienced in Korea, together and separately, scarred both of them for ever. More than thirty years later the wounds are reopened, when Tom stumbles across a hitherto unknown diary, written by his sister in the weeks before her murder. It reveals a dark and promiscuous side to the girl he’d always thought of as an angel. The year is now 1982, with Britain embroiled in the Falklands conflict. In the most unexpected of ways, the Korean past catches up with Tom and Marcus. And, as Tom’s relentless search for the truth about Sara’s murder reaches its dramatic climax, he faces death once again.

Dark Angel - in Arrow paperback - price £6.99.

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‘Geoffrey Archer kept me turning the pages in this chilling account of blighted lives, missed opportunities, guilt and grief.
He gives us a fascinating account of the horrors and chaos of the UN’s disastrous military adventure in Korea in the early 1950s.’

The Guardian -
November 2004

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