They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down.
When a British Diplomat is kidnapped in the heart of London, followed by a brutal double-assassination in Chelsea, MI5 braces for the threat of deep sleeper cells coming alive.
Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.
As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands…….…
The Kompromat Kill – Geo-Politick, Treachery, and Mystery
The novel draws together an array of themes that range from current day geo-politics, the corridors of power in Whitehall, right through to the gritty espionage scenes that take place in varying geographical locations around the globe immersing the reader in the mystery and treachery of deniable intelligence operations. It was huge fun to plot and write, but what exactly are those golden threads throughout the book?
Well, the golden thread was all about the rising tensions between the USA and Iran and the plications on the western world. The story fuses the geo-politick, espionage, and treachery taking place amongst the mysterious geographic locations and settings that the novel takes place in – it links the inner sanctums of British secret intelligence taking place in London, with the overseas ground operations that Sean (the main character) was undertaking with his team that he brought together. It was great fun to write. But it did require some careful thought on both the story arc and the reader experience. I wanted to be able to take the reader on a journey of how geo-politics of the day has consequences and impact on the main character. An interesting thread of the story for me was how far the Iranians might go to unleash their state sponsored terror arms across the globe, especially when backed into a corner by the US.
The primary antagonist, Nadege, was a great character to build and put into action. She is driven by revenge, and a loyalty to her mother country – trained from a young age to be an assassin and spy. Her story arc is a journey I thoroughly enjoyed writing – a conflicted woman, a capable spy, but continually under the spell of her middle eastern master who has groomed her to inflict a terrorist incident of mammoth proportions and a magnitude way beyond her normal life of bedding and recruiting western politicians, diplomats and scientists.
So, as the story takes its journey, we have two intelligence officers about to collide and clash. Sean is tasked to recruit Nadege, a mission that fills him with dread and fear, never mind him thinking that his handler, Jack, has lost the plot giving him such a mission that Sean feels will surely fail. Sean is dispatched with some style by Jack to Asia Minor to recruit Nadege and the fireworks begin. Sean always feels wary that he is being used as a pawn for bigger things, and he never quite knows what Jack’s deeper motives are – all he knows is that he is expendable as a deniable operator, and he knows that one day, British Intelligence will throw him to the wolves with out a care. His relationship with Jack is always great to write, and there is a deep respect between them, although Jack never quite knows if Sean will tow the line or go off piste, creating never ending nervous anxiety for him – can he keep control of the bigger mission with the maverick nature of Sean?
The story arc begins as one of current day reflection – reflection for the reader on the history of Iran seeking to achieve one of its most potent strategic aims – building a nuclear bomb and becoming a nuclear state. The here and now is brought into sharp focus when the US pull out of the nuclear deal they had agreed with Iran, and so begins the Iranian backlash as they mobilise their sleeper agents and begin a series of assassinations and establish bomb making factories across Europe. Sean doesn’t know it, but he holds the key to gathering intelligence on being able to take these cells down – and Jack puts his head on the block and his career, to achieve just that.
Sean’s forays to achieve his mission take us across Asia Minor, Istanbul, Armenia, France, Suffolk and London. Sean is a man with a love of history and art – and he revels being amongst the wildernesses, mountainscapes, vistas, and people of Asia Minor. But he is now carrying his traumas at their peak. It’s during the mission that he hears news of a dark episode from his past and one that causes him
great consternation – and a new mission to kill based on betrayal and revenge. Thus, both he and Nadege are driven by similar motivations and that provides a trajectory for a huge crescendo with the fall out playing a pivotal part of the story.
Of course, the story wouldn’t be the thriller it is, without the conflicts Sean faces. They are bad enough in their own right as he needs to succeed on the mission to deny the evil intent of a number of antagonists, plus he needs to earn the right to take his life back again and rid the price on his head from the Russian intelligence services. To add fuel to fire, the nod of the story back to the cold war, provides an anxiety for Sean that he needs to neuter and put to bed. He needs the odd drink to help him on his way…..
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 make the right decision.
Just as all seems lost, Sean senses an opportunity…….
Thank you, Michael Jenkins and damppebbles Blog Tours
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.
The Failsafe Query is my debut novel, with The Kompromat Kill, my second.