An ex-soldier and recovering alcoholic living quietly in Somerset, Stephen Rose has just begun to form a bond with Maggie, the daughter he barely knows, when he receives a summons – to an inquiry in Belfast about an incident during the Troubles, which he hoped he had long outdistanced. Now, to testify about it could wreck his fragile relationship with Maggie. And if he loses her, he loses everything.
He decides instead to write her an account of his life – a confession, a defence, a love letter. Also a means of buying time. But as time runs out, the day comes when he must face again what happened in that distant summer of 1982.