When fifteen year-old Tom Radford moves with his mother Sally from Balham to a remote village in North Norfolk, he fully expects life to be different; but he has yet to discover just how different. His speedway-rider father has been killed in an accident, not heroically on the track but ignominiously on the street. Before he died, however, he had imbued his son with his own love of machines and speed. So when Tom finds himself in the back of a stolen car, driven by local wideboy Luke, he doesn't at first feel perturbed; until, that is, the car and its occupants find themselves upside-down on a lonely beach. Tom's coming-of-age, in the company of some very strange and eccentric characters, is brilliantly realized in Stephen Foster's second novel, all the confusion and bravado of adolescence laid bare. And fittingly it is a car, an old Mercedes 180, which proves to be Tom's passport to maturity: to maturity and to a very eerie conclusion in the tunnel under the Pont d'Alma in Paris.