Exploring the Portobello Road flea market, investment consultant and adventurer Anthony Aldershaw comes across faded envelopes stamped Millwood, Cape Colony but the date is illegible. The letters written by Peter Ludford to his aunt Fiona in Newquay, Cornwall, refer to gold that he and his friend Richard Middleton discovered in Jubilee Creek and describe in detail where they hid their gold. Research in the British Library reveals the boom town Millwood was near a village called Knysna and that the gold rush was late in the nineteenth century. According to reports in old Millwood newspapers it appears that the two men were killed in a mining accident. An enthused Anthony goes to Knysna on the scenic Cape Garden Route to search for the lost gold of Jubilee Creek. Of the once booming mining town Millwood nothing but a checker-board layout remains.
At the tourist information bureau in Knysna Anthony meets the beautiful Eileen Mddleton. She is a descendant of George Rex, founder of Knysna and according to legend the illegitimate son of King George III of England; also of Nicholas Middleton who came to Knysna to search for his brother and who fell in love with the indigenous forests and lakes and stayed.
Anthony courts Eileen and falls in love. Someone tries to prevent him from searching for the gold and he wonders who, but even more important why? After a brutal attack Anthony lands up in hospital. Shortly thereafter this is followed up by an even worse experience –“This is Angela Dowling: you are watching the world today on BBC News: A British tourist, Anthony Aldershaw was arrested earlier today in the picturesque village of Knysna in South Africa for the murder of two prostitutes.”
Eileen stuns her friends when out of the blue she forsakes Anthony. And while he is incarcerated in a cold cell awaiting trial for the murder of Nolitha Sigwele and Xholiswa Ntshinga, church bells ring merrily across the way as Eileen marries a wealthy compatriot of his, Richard Rushworth, 4th Earl of Dormer. In England Eileen is enchanted by Towan Blistra, the Earl’s magnificent manor in East Anglia and his famous horse racing stud.
Found innocent of the murders a traumatized Anthony returns to England where this modern-day fenslodger has to find a way through a marshland of intrigue to establish what happened with the lost gold of Jubilee Creek. Many surprises await him upon his return where once more he will be accused of murder by one of Scotland Yard’s foremost detectives. Why did Susan Harcourt-Jones with whom he had a serious relationship before going to Knysna not respond to his e-mail messages during the three months that he was in Knysna?
When Anthony confronts Richard Rushworth he learns what happened at Millwood more than a century ago. It is recorded in the Dormer Diary and it describes the day-by-day experiences of the writer; what life was like on the Millwood gold field; how he learned all about horses on a Colesberg farm; how on Saturday 31st December 1887 he won a small fortune at the big race in Kimberley; how he struck it rich on the Barberton stock exchange; what life was like in Barberton where Cockney Liz, a stunningly beautiful woman was auctioned off after her song and dance act every Saturday night, with a drunken ruffian paying £2,000 one night for the privilege of having a romp in bed with her; how the writer invested in Witwatersrand gold mines that are still in production today; and what happened after the writer returned to England.
Is Eileen a descendant of King George III? Did the Earl marry her because she is a blue-blood? Was a crown prince deprived of his rightful inheritance? How does the beautiful Pamela Belfrage, London’s notorious madam feature in the picture. Why is Pamela trying so hard to ensconce herself with the new countess? What is the meaning of Towan Blistra, and of a white cross on a black flag? As the drama unfolds these and many more questions will be answered.