The evening air was cold and bitter as he climbed up out of the Underground station and started to head down The Strand. December in London, away from the madness of Regent Street, Bond Street and Oxford Street, was oddly subdued. The few signs of life were of groups of colleagues having their Christmas jolly or not-so-jolly depending on whether it was a joy or a chore, and the odd fast moving business man or freelancer zipping between Covent Garden and the offices on The Strand.

Not one of them could see what Jonas could see. He hated this time of year; there were far more shades on the streets. If you can see the dead without casting magic or using talismans – if you can just see them – then there are many kinds of entities that might trouble your sight. Shades were a particular dislike for Jonas. A ghosti that does not know who it was in life, and that cannot communicate in any way apart from by instilling fear is no fun to spend time with. As he passed the Aldwych one of them tried to get his attention.