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Winterbotham glanced at him with a raised eyebrow—he knew how he was looking, and well had nothing to do with it—and drank some more of the good whiskey without comment. Taylor seemed content to let the quiet linger. The fire crackled and the wireless hummed and a whistle of wind rustled through the eaves of the house. Presently, Winterbotham turned his attention to the chessboard. The ranks were arranged in starting position. He reached out, took the king’s pawn between thumb and forefinger, and moved it forward two spaces. The king’s pawn opening, so simple, so workable, had always driven Taylor mad with frustration. Taylor felt that every move in a chess game, as in life, should be a feat of brilliance. He had no appreciation for the simple pleasures of a job well done if there was not some element of spectacle. Taylor leaned forward, rubbing his chin, and then countered with the knight’s pawn—nothing ever could be simple with him. He said, “I didn’t bring you here to play chess.” “I didn’t think so,” Winterbotham said, bringing a bishop out. “I heard about Ruth,” Taylor said. “I’m sorry, Harry.” Winterbotham nodded without looking up. “Any word on her?” Taylor pressed. “Any hope?” Winterbotham shrugged. “There’s always hope,” he allowed. In Ruth’s case, however, there wasn’t much. She had gone to Warsaw, despite Winterbotham’s warnings, in the summer of 1939. She had family there—two brothers, assorted cousins—and she had been determined to convince them to come out before it was too late. But by the time she arrived, it already was too late. Hitler and his SS squads marched in a week later. Now she was either dead or imprisoned; Winterbotham had no way of knowing. But her chances, as he long ago had admitted to himself, were not good. He remembered that Taylor had a wife of his own. He couldn’t quite recall her name. Alice, he thought, or possibly Alicia—or possibly Helen, probably Helen. He took a chance. “How’s Helen?” Taylor was staring at the chessboard. “She’s passed on,” he said. “Nearly two years now.” “The bombs?”

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