A pact, a theft, a carved message and a disappearance lead two schoolboys to decipher a code that has remained a secret for two decades
In 1935 a group of seven men form a pact to leave an endowment to their old school Wakeford College. The endowment is linked to the upkeep of an iconic shield presented to the school by Henry VI.
The story jumps to 1985 when a pupil in his last year steals and hides the shield. He leaves a clue to its whereabouts in a carved verse but disappears whilst on a gap year taking any other information regarding the shield with him.
In the present day two new Wakeford boys forge a friendship and undertake to break the code. As the search develops the last member of the original seven dies and the endowment is revealed, there is a twist that it will only be paid once two words carved on the back of the shield are revealed. This sets the Headmaster and his sidekicks on a course to find it and heightens the boys' role in a two horse race to find it.
The main character is able in many ways but he is full of self doubt, much of which has been implanted in him by others. The story sees him develop and ultimately prove something to himself.