– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Moscow Whisper’ blogtour, organised by Damppebbles Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but b
About the Author :
I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.
I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.
‘Sometimes you have to enter the death zone to save the innocent.’
A top-secret clique of former spies meet for dinner to hatch a plan to murder a competitor, not knowing that they are under surveillance from a covert arm of British Intelligence. Hours later, with bodies strewn across a terrace, a piece of secret intelligence reveals an international plot of colossal magnitude.
For disgraced agent Sean Richardson, this is the beginning of a deniable mission to infiltrate and disrupt a group of Russian mercenaries who are working clandestinely to take over a nation state.
Acting covertly as an illicit arms trafficker, Sean is dropped into a deadly cauldron of terrorism and high-tech weaponry that will take a nation down. As the bullets fly and the chaos rains in, can Sean take down the merchants of death…or has he finally met his match?
The third in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani.
Published in paperback and digital formats on 7th June 2020.
Guest Post :
The Moscow Whisper
Spies, Mercenaries, Weapons smuggling, and Forensics
A unique mixture of espionage
For those that have read the book, I hope you enjoyed the mixture of geo-politics, mysterious locations, and the fascinating mission that Sean, the main character, has to achieve set against tumultuous odds. A task he felt was impossible from the outset.
I thought for many months about how I might fuse some of the modern-day geo-forensics, bomb disposal, weapons smuggling, and Russian mercenaries into such a story. I wanted to immerse the reader with a rich insight into the modern-day world of intelligence operations, from strategic level and national assets, right down to simple and applied forensics on the ground, with a smattering of bomb disposal and weapons smuggling scenes too. Of course, most spy and espionage novels don’t have such a unique mixture, so what led me to explore these themes?
For many of my years, I was privileged to serve on operations with some incredible forensic and bomb disposal experts, both during my days on counter terrorist operations with the police, and also on overseas operations acting with the intelligence services and the military. Hence nearly all of the search, EOD (explosive ordnance disposal), weapons and forensic scenes are authentic, but have of course been adapted to the theme of the story where Sean comes up against a set of highly trained Russian mercenaries, a long way from home on another continent.
I really enjoyed showing some of the capabilities of modern-day cyber operations – highly trained operators using cutting edge technology to conduct intelligence gathering roles in support of covert missions. It’s no secret that many of these techniques are employed by many nations, and there have been lost of media coverage and articles about the power of cyber operations, hacking, and stealing secrets that are embedded in servers, networks and IT systems. Cyber espionage is very much alive.
But how does Sean use all these techniques and procedures to achieve the mission that Jack, his MI5 handler gave him? One of the main themes here is that he needs trusted friends and experts to achieve the mission, something he could never do alone. And so he brings in his team of eclectic, erratic, and eccentric operators together. I loved creating their oddities in the first novel, The Failsafe Query, and then bring them together again for their second high-octane mission in the Kompromat Kill, before completing the trilogy with The Moscow Whisper. Each of them can be read as standalone novels, and each are based on people I served with, and I blended in multiple characters to make them who they are today in the story. I always chuckle when I meet up with some of them for a drink and I’ve included most of their own personal traits into each character. The characters feel real because of it.
It was important to me that Sean did not become the tired ‘lone wolf’ superspy that you usually find in spy thrillers, but I wanted him to use his charisma and flair to lead a team of highly skilled geo-forensics and bomb disposal operators. Sean is a highly skilled professional, who pulls off his missions by selecting and leading the right team of people for the job. He is flawed, he makes mistakes, pays his dues, and has to find ways to live with the extensive trauma his profession has caused him.
The activities of Sean hunting down the merchants of death, are based upon my experiences of working in the world of Intelliegnce, weapons intelligence, bomb disposal and high-risk search for counter terrorist operations. But I adapted the principles to make a story out of it, and used the skills of what is known as Search Advisors to create the conditions for him to succeed. Police and military search advisors are those officers who conduct investigations into missing persons and finding criminal items – and they are superbly trained and lead the world in this type of activity.
It was great fun to blend in the military and geo-forensic aspects of the operation into the novel, and I hope you enjoy those scenesa mongst exotic landscapes. What exactly does it all reveal though……the twists and turns will eventually lead you to a very dramatic finale. Sean’s route to success and contentment is blocked by many disturbing and hidden facets that he didn’t know were in play. It seems an almost impossible mission. And just as you thought it couldn’t be any worse, along comes a standoff that needs Sean to somehow find a way out of.
Just as all seems lost, Sean senses an opportunity and gets some help he didn’t expect… .
The Magic of Wor(l)ds