For two nights at a house party at Tranby Croft, the residence of one of the richest men in England, a card game is played, instigated by the Prince of Wales. One of the players, Lieutenant Colonel Sir William Gordon-Cumming Bt, Scots Guards, is accused of cheating.
A classic Victorian melodrama: vast amounts of money, illegal gambling, the Royal Family, mistresses, bed-hopping, cover-up, deception and blackmail.
The saga ranges from the wind-swept remoteness of Gordonstoun in Scotland, big game hunting in Africa and India, to life in the Guards in London and action in the Zulu Wars and Egyptian Campaign of 1882.
For the first time, the Gordon-Cumming family papers are brought to light, including many of Sir William’s diaries and letters, as well as letters from The Royal Archives at Windsor Castle that detail the anxieties amongst the Royal Family.
Previously undiscovered, there are more than mere coincidental connections between Gordon-Cumming and the Intelligence community. What was he really up to and why didn’t the Prince, his close confidant and friend, bail him out? Views of present-day descendants of those involved are also revealed for the first time. Was Gordon-Cumming a cheat or not? Or was he the scapegoat for something which is shrouded in even more mystery?