""The pace is relentless...""
It is 1936, and Ernest Drabble, a Cambridge historian and mountaineer is asked to go to Devon and examine a morbid object - the mummified head of Oliver Cromwell. It is in the possession of Dr Wilkinson. He only tells one person of his trip and its purpose - his friend Harris, a journalist. It seems an easy enough task, but on the train Drabble is attacked and almost killed. However, he survives and reaches the home of Dr Wilkinson, only to find the man has been murdered and his house ransacked. His secretary, the feisty Kate Honeyand, at first mistakes him for the murderer. Drabble convinces her that he isn't, and then discovers a note to Dr Wilkinson written by Churchill. In it he asks Wilkinson to deliver the head to him personally. So begins a car journey for the both of them to London.
Meanwhile, Harris has his own problems. After being captured, he finds out that Fascists are after the head for some reason, and he is tortured to tell them. The leader of the Fascists is the evil Sir Carmen Kelly, baronet and MP, who takes a delight in inflicting pain, and he does so to Harris with great glee.
The story spins out at a hectic pace, taking in Wallace Simpson, Stonehenge, climbing the North Face of the Eiger and finally ending up in a fortress on the coast. But why do the Fascists want the head in the first place? What power does it have? Will Drabble and Honeyand deliver it to Churchill?