Eamon and Mary board a Ryanair flight to Spain. Eamon wishes she were not here. He hates the possibility that Mary might be in danger. Then she takes his hand and squeezes it and he's enormously pleased to have her with him.
The flight is full, mostly of Spanish passengers. Eamon hears a steward ask for more lemon tea, which is in cans and chilled. Eamon returns to the guidebook and tries to memorise a few phrases in Spanish. How long is it since he has been out of Ireland? Must be ten years, he thinks he does not count his few trips to the UK mainland as the same.
Mary has dozed off, her head on his shoulder. It has been a long day, an early start, a six a.m. departure from Dublin to London Stansted, where they got the flight. As she sleeps, Eamon goes back over his briefing.
Davin and his intelligence man, a young guy Eamon does not know, and whom he suspects would soon irritate him if had to spend any time with him, conduct the briefing. McAllister is in his twenties, a computer nerd, with all the latest technology.
They sit in a room in the one of the safe houses. Eamon guesses it is in the Gweedore, the remote north-western corner of Co Donegal, favoured by the Movement over the years for the ease of hiding and remaining undiscovered in the desolate, forbidding countryside. Could well be one he has been to for an Army Council meeting. He follows the same procedure. In the evening, at dusk, he drives from Derry to Letterkenny, where he leaves his car in a supermarket car park, and he goes into Tescos. He checks he is clear and nobody is following him, he buys sandwiches and some fruit, saunters out and across to the far side of the busy car park where he gets into a car, with a silent driver, and through the night is chauffeured deep into Co Donegal, by a circuitous route. At dawn, they stop at a remote cottage, more an outhouse than a home, with a camp bed to sleep on. Eamon has remembered to bring a flask. That evening when it is dark, there are further changes of vehicles and drivers, until a new one escorts him to the safe house at one in the morning.
McAllister has a large laptop, and on the screen, there is a list. 'Okay,' he begins, 'you travel to Spain, to take a short holiday and to investigate walking the pilgrimage the Camino the route to Santiago de Compostela. The walk is about 750 kilometres, you start in the Pyrenees and the walk takes about a month, depending on your ability. All of that is in the guidebook. In Santiago, you will stay in the best hotel, Hotel dos Reis Católicos. This is a former monastery, reputed to be the oldest hotel in the world, and is right beside the cathedral, on the great square
' At which point Davin snaps, 'Leave all that, he can read about it later.'
McAllister, who is dark-haired, and olive-skinned, as if he has some Spanish antecedents, takes the rebuke smoothly. 'Okay, I have some info on PowerPoint,' he says and clicks the mouse.
'This is the latest photo we have of Griffin, taken in Santiago de Compostela last month.'
Davin leans in to peer more closely at the photograph. 'Well named. Flash he is all right.'