The 1917 Bloodline is in the tradition of Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene and Arthur Koestler. Alan Grahame is a hard-drinking, middle-aged single father and poet leading a secretive life and escaping from a murky political past. His past seems buried until one day — on a wild impulse — he sends a poem anonymously to Helen, head teacher of a local school. Soon afterwards his mobile phone rings, and he hears a voice from the Cold War. How far will Grahame go in honouring old loyalties in post-9/11 Britain? How far will Helen go in shaking off her joyless and passionless present?