Well I have swapped the sun and beach for the cold wintery weather of home but it is good to be back especially now that I have recharged my batteries. Today I am hosting a guest post from author Michael Jenkins and there is a pretty cool giveaway too.
The Failsafe Query is a gripping thriller set in the contemporary world of modern British espionage.
Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for Alfie Chapman, an Intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. This includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.
The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy.
Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale.
The Failsafe Query – Geo-Politick, Treachery, and Mystery
The novel draws together a range of themes which range from British politics, often related to the second gulf war, right through to the espionage scenes that take places in varying geographical locations around the globe that immerses the reader into the mysteries and treachery of global politics. 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 fusing the geo-politick, espionage, and treachery taking place amongst the mysterious geographic locations and settings that the novel takes place in. Fusing the inner sanctums of British secret intelligence taking place in London, with the overseas ground operations that Sean (the main character) was undertaking 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 British politics of the day had consequences and impact on the main character. An interesting thread of the story for me was how the gulf war politics and current day threats led to a serving intelligence officer, Alfie Chapman, deciding to become an industrial scale whistle-blower above and beyond the leaks from Edward Snowdon back in 2013.
Alfie was driven by curiosity. And his curiosity led to the Failsafe Query. A range of cold war and modern day secrets that he wanted to expose. Curiosity was his first steps for him embarking on a search for government secrets to expose their furtive and duplicitous ways from everything to do with the gulf war dodgy dossier, through to the hidden secrets of UK policing and finally to unravelling a cold war legacy that would lead to a list of Russian moles in parliament.
So, as the story takes its journey, we have two intelligence officers learning of the clandestine acts of government that neither approved of. In their heart of hearts, both knew that the public had been wronged. And both of them felt it right to expose certain plots and deceitful acts of the governments of the day. The difference was that Sean would learn of these issues, all carefully concealed from the public, by chasing down where Alfie had fled to. His task was to find Alfie and recover the files. Files that Alfie had stolen through his skills of cyber hacking, delving deep into secret intelligence agencies and personal accounts of Police, ministers, and intelligence officers.
The story arc begins as one of reflection – reflection for the reader back to the tense and fast paced days of gathering intelligence across the globe on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programme. Sean himself reflects back on these days as his journey to find Alfie begins, and all of a sudden he learns secrets from the past that begin to haunt him. These include refection on his own traumas that he has to deal with and hopefully the reader can see his confliction and struggles as the storyline grows.
His forays across central Asia see the geo-politick taking place in the marvellous and mysterious countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and finally in more recent days for Sean, into Afghanistan where he is carrying his traumas at its peak. Sean is a man with a love of history – and he revels in being amongst the deserts, vistas, and mosques of the days of the ‘Great Game’. The political, diplomatic and military games of Imperial Britain and Russian across the great locations of the Silk Road. He reflects on his own persona and life in the great city of Bukhara – a place where former British officers had sought intelligence from the Emir, and had been betrayed, gaoled and killed right in the location that he was stood. All in the name of collecting overseas intelligence. It sent shivers down his spine as he recognised his fate could be exactly the same.
His hunt for the hidden cold war legacy eventually sees him move across Europe and France, but he also unearths some stories from the past – where British agents had operated in Moscow at the very height of cold war tensions between Britain and Russia. Tensions that almost led to nuclear war. The revelations astonish Sean. Revelations that Alfie had conducted his own personal mole hunt. A hunt to find the list of Russian moles deeply hidden in the very fabric of our own British democratic society – the Houses of Parliament.
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 earn his right to take his life back again. To add fuel to fire, the extortion on Sean was being leveraged by a very senior civil servant mandarin. A mandarin that had his own agenda and a roadmap to his own glory.
Sean’s route to freedom 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 another antagonist…the very ruthless and sadistic Natalie.
But just as all seems lost, Sean senses an opportunity…
Well if that has piqued your interest then you will be very interested in the giveaway to win…
Its the penultimate day of the tour but there are still all these stops that you can look back on.
Michael Jenkins served for twenty-eight years in the British Army, rising through the ranks to complete his service as a major. He served across the globe on numerous military operations as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
His experiences within the services involved extensive travel and adventure whilst on operations, and also on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that he led or was involved in. He was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity.
He was awarded the MBE on leaving the armed forces in 2007 for his services to counterterrorism.
The Failsafe Query is Michael’s first novel. He has started work on his second spy thriller, The Kompromat Kill, and hopes to publish it the spring of 2019.