When he first discovered the work of the Author, it had intrigued the teenaged Adrian Darnell to find, as he read his way through the stories, that he shared the surname of one of the characters. The connection went no further, although the story of that other Darnell was his favourite, and remained so. Over the succeeding decades and after numerous readings of the story, Adrian Darnell had never felt the sense of being haunted by an emerging heritage that would, in time, slowly and completely change his life. He would confess to himself that he had never been truly on the threshold of a transforming adventure. He wished it could be otherwise – but grew to assume that it was not the way his life was to unfold. Yet a formless hope never quite deserted him.