In 1976, Tom Faulkner is in Fowey, the small Cornish south coast port, to attend the funeral of Jack Faulkner, his father, and put his affairs in order. Soon, it becomes apparent his father may not have met a natural end which leads Tom on an odyssey to Italy and into his father's wartime past. In Italy, Tom meets Carlo Miller, an elderly priest and friend of Jack; here the story moves to 1933. Jack first meets the Landucci family while a member of the MG racing team preparing for the Mille Miglia road race. Jack is back in Italy during the Second World War and is sent into the Mussolini Salo Republic with a special mission from the SOE. He years to rekindle his acquaintance with Nicole Landucci, the beautiful fascist aristocrat he cannot forget. In The Serpent and the Cross, Mark Simmons has written a mesmerizing novel inspired by real events that captures the vicious conflict of the Second World War in Italy: a novel where love meets unbending ideology, compassion triumphs over tough justice and all the characters, both powerful and weak, prove vulnerable to human weaknesses.