The Steady Running of the Hour, by Justin Go, William Heinemann, RRP£14.99, 480 pages
Shortly after graduating from college, Tristan Campbell receives a letter from a firm of solicitors summoning him from San Francisco to London. The estate of first world war officer and Everest mountaineer Ashley Walsingham has remained unclaimed since 1924 and Tristan appears to be the only heir to the fortune. But there’s a snag: to claim the inheritance, he must first prove within two months that he is descended from Ashley’s lover Imogen Soames-Andersson.
So begins a race against the clock across Europe, from London to Sweden via the Somme and beyond, as Tristan’s story is interspersed with flashbacks from Walsingham’s life.
Justin Go’s impressive and ambitious debut is meticulously plotted and researched, and combines the narrative drive of Dan Brown with the literary sensibility of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child.