The Silk Road – Mark Leggatt

Ex-CIA technician Connor Montrose tracks two suspected terrorists to a deserted mountain village in Tuscany, where he witnesses an attack on a US Air Force troop plane, using a ground-breaking portable Surface to Air (SAM) missile. Unaware that the CIA were also monitoring the suspects, Montrose is blamed for the attack and narrowly escapes. The CIA receive orders from Washington to shoot him on sight, and a shadowy organisation begins to track his every move.

Then a spate of terror attacks threatens the fabric of NATO and the entire Western alliance. Civilian airlines are the new target, and the overwhelming evidence points to a CIA false flag plan to bring down aircraft and blame it on Moscow-backed terrorists. Montrose’s investigations lead him to underground arms sales on The Silk Road, the secret marketplace of the internet, hidden deep in the Dark Web. Montrose must assimilate himself into the society of the European aristocracy and the ultra-rich fascists, assisted by Kirsty Rhys, to pose as a middleman for the purchase of arms on The Silk Road and find the remaining cache of missiles. Montrose uncovers the layers of duplicity between governments and arms dealers, leading first to the CIA in Rome, and eventually to the palaces of the last Russia Tsar and the new oligarchs. Montrose must discover the remaining cache of missiles before the CIA catch up with him, and before carnage is unleashed over the skies of Europe.






A Deserted Village In Tuscany

A faint shadow on the stone showed where the crucifix had been. He turned his back to the bare altar and brought up his hand to his chest, then touched the butt of the pistol in the holster, next to his heart. The door to the church, like all the other doors in the village, lay wide open.

To his right, the stone staircase cut into the mountain that made up the east wall, twisting steeply up to the bell tower. The rough-hewn steps were bowed and smooth after a thousand years of worshippers, though they had long gone.

The bell tower would give the best vantage point. He peered over his shoulder to make sure the exit was clear. If he was trapped in the tower, he was a dead man. Keeping to the wall, he shoved his way past the crumbling remains of the wooden pews then edged towards the door. He pulled the pistol from the holster and knelt just inside the doorway, then glanced down the street. It was clear, but he knew they were close.

He sat back and wiped the sweat from his forehead. His hands stung where the rocks had cut into his flesh during the climb. He took another look. The church was at the end of the street, the highest part of the village. To his left, the road wound past the open doors of the houses that had survived destruction, then dropped suddenly at the end, down into the valley, hidden by the bushes and stunted trees clinging to the mountainside. He wondered how many centuries it had been since the villagers had left. Scattered between the empty houses lay piles of rubble, shattered roof tiles and exposed, crumbling timbers, in a graveyard of buildings that had succumbed to the earthquakes. He checked the street again, then pinpointed the alley that led to the cliff on the south side where he had entered the village. The treacherous climb up the south face had been the only way to follow the suspects without being seen. One road to the top of the mountain and the same road down. He would have been spotted in minutes. And he’d be dead.

Halfway down the street, he saw faint tire tracks curving around a low, leaf-filled water trough. A gouge in the earth led to the edge of wide wooden doors. Above them, just below the pointed roof, a weathered beam jutted out, the remains of a hoist to a hay loft.

He turned away, and leaned back against the wall, feeling the dust stick to his sweat-soaked t- shirt. The stable doors seemed to be the only ones closed in the entire village. They must be in there. He wiped his wet hands on his jeans then pulled back the slide on the pistol and chambered a round. He stood, his leg muscles tight from the climb, then stepped out into the road.

The stable doors swung open. He ducked back into the doorway of the church and watched the two men each drag a wheeled suitcase down the street. One walked like a soldier, head high, and the other, a fat, squat guy, took quick steps to keep up. They turned and disappeared down an alley towards the village square. The suitcases left a track in the dust behind them. They looked heavy.

He stood for a moment, then edged out of the doorway, his gun raised, keeping his back against the wall of the church. He listened to the rumbling wheels of the suitcases become fainter. Mr. Pilgrim had told him there were two suspects. He had seen two men in the BMW as it climbed towards the village and two men had come from the stables. He glanced left and right, his heart thumping. They weren’t here for a vacation. He ran over to the stable door and ducked inside, then brought up the pistol.

Thank you, Mark Leggatt and LoveBooksGroup.


About the author

Mark Leggatt was born in Lochee, Dundee and lives in Edinburgh. A former specialist in Disaster Recovery for oil companies and global banks, his career has taken him around Europe, especially Paris, where he lived for a number of years. History and modern global conspiracy lie at the heart of his work, and are the backdrop for the adventures of CIA technician Connor Montrose. Leggatt is a member of the Crime Writers Association in the UK, and the International Thriller Writers in the USA.