*ARC Review* ~ The Silver Wolf: A James Ryker Thriller, by Rob Sinclair

#thriller #spythriller #actionthriller

Book Blurb

A fast paced and unmissable thriller from the international bestselling James Ryker series

Ryker wants blood, and one way or another he’ll get it…

Still tormented by the disappearance of his wife, ex-intelligence agent James Ryker sets out on a personal mission of revenge, prepared to go to any lengths in search of the truth.

The trail takes him from the crystal waters of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, back to a place he thought he would never set foot again – his country of birth, England. But there he discovers more than even he bargained for. Stumbling across a terrorist attack targeted against his old employers – the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency -the faint clues to many events in his recent past are all seemingly linked to one mysterious character; The Silver Wolf.

But just who is the Silver Wolf, and why is he hell bent on punishing not just Ryker, but his closest allies at the JIA too?
Has Ryker finally met his match?

The Silver Wolf is a globe-trotting thriller that sees James Ryker at his hard-nosed best as he fights the ghosts of his past. As skilled as Jason Bourne, as no-nonsense as Jack Reacher, James Ryker delivers in another heart-pounding thriller.

My Review ~ 5 stars

Ryker is back in a high octane revenge thriller.

In The Silver Wolf revenge is the name of the game in this rip-roaring spy thriller, the latest release by Rob Sinclair. The offering is another stunning tour-de-force by this author whose larger than life characters and devilishly clever plots never fail to deliver.

The reader immediately feels for Ryker, a man tormented by his wife Lisa’s disappearance. He needs to employ all the skills learned from his past as a field operative and then some – at times the situations he finds himself in appear to be insurmountable. The reader is left in no doubt however, as to his determination to make those who hurt her pay the ultimate price. Ryker’s quest for vengeance takes him from Mexico, to London and beyond as he becomes embroiled in a tangled web of illicit criminal activity and the covert work of government operatives, including his old colleagues at the Joint Intelligence Agency.

As the plot progresses all roads lead to the elusive Silver Wolf who appears to have not only played a pivotal role in Ryker’s recent past but the JIA’s current problems. Who is he? Will he succeed in his machinations or will Ryker get to him first? How much collateral damage will there be before Ryker achieves his ultimate goal – if indeed he does? There are scenes of blood and gore aplenty and a number of plot twists, including one major one which I did not see coming, before the book reaches its stunning and bloody denouement. As with other books in the series Rob Sinclair does not shy away from some violent and fairly gruesome scenes as befits the book’s genre!

The novel can be read as a standalone, but if you enjoyed this read I thoroughly recommend reading the other novels featuring the main character – Carl Logan/James Ryker.

Highly recommended for lovers of character driven and high action spy thrillers.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Connect with the Author

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8389261.Rob_Sinclair

http://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Rob-Sinclair-746087495413628/

 

*ARC REVIEW* ~ The Red Cobra, by Rob Sinclair

#crime #spy #thriller

Blurb

Carl Logan dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the Joint Intelligence Agency. Now living in a secret location, under the new identify of James Ryker, he wants nothing more than to be left alone, the chance to start a new life away from chaos, violence, destruction and deceit.

It’s not long, however, before Ryker’s short-lived idyll is destroyed when he is tracked down by Peter Winter, his ex-boss at the JIA. Winter brings with him news of the murder of a woman in Spain, Kim Walker, whose fingerprints match those of one of Ryker’s former adversaries who’s been missing presumed dead for years – an infamous female assassin known as the Red Cobra.

A cyberattack at the JIA led to the Red Cobra’s profile being compromised, and Winter believes JIA agents may now be at risk too, Ryker included. But Ryker knew the elusive Red Cobra better than anyone, and when he sees the grisly pictures of Kim Walker’s corpse, he has news for Winter – she isn’t the assassin at all …

So just who is the mystery dead woman? And where is the real Red Cobra?

The Red Cobra is a fast-paced thriller filled with twists and turns and intrigue that will appeal to readers of big-hitting thrillers by the likes of Lee Child and David Baldacci, and with echoes in its plotting and breadth of the globe-trotting spy thriller I Am Pilgrim.

My Review ~ Engrossing and Expertly Written Spy Thriller ~ 5 stars TOP READ

This read is  another tour de force from bestselling author Rob Sinclair. In his latest Spy Thriller, The Red Cobra, we are reunited with James Ryker (aka Carl Logan from the author’s page-turning Enemy series). Prepare for a white knuckle ride as Ryker goes up against the mafia, intelligence services, bent policeman and a mysterious figure from his past. The read is a standalone but the book’s conclusion lays the ground nicely for the continuation of the series.

Ryker’s life in Spain has become an idyllic one, far removed from his previous life as an employee of the Joint Intelligence Agency. However, he is tempted out of retirement by his former boss, to investigate a vicious murder in Spain. The victim’s fingerprints match those of a notorious female assassin, the Red Cobra, whom Ryker has encountered in his former life as Carl Logan. Ryker knows that the body is not that of his old adversary and it appears that moves are afoot to compromise the identity of fellow agents rendering them at risk. It is a race against time to track down the perpetrators and prevent more lives being lost.

The plot is fast moving and totally engrossing. Much of the action takes place in Spain, although some chapters pan back to the past in the Soviet Union and beyond where we find out about The Red Cobra and her shared history with Ryker. This added a great deal of depth to the story and helped explain their motivations. There are a number of well drawn secondary characters  who accompany Ryker on his quest to put the pieces of a complex puzzle together. Aside from the main protaganists, I also enjoyed the character of Eva. Ryker certainly has his work cut out to identify friend from foe, find out the whereabouts of the real Red Cobra and the identity of the murder victim.

I enjoyed how in this read the author has further developed the complex character of Ryker, who I met as Carl Logan in his previous books. Although Ryker still maintains his hard and ruthless persona with his take no prisoners approach, as events unfold we witness how this complex man has now developed his own code of honour and is not simply just a blunt instrument of his employers. I loved the role of the enigmatic Red Cobra in the plot and the part she played in Ryker’s past and thought that the author portrayed her role as a female assassin in expert fashion.

There is plenty of action, suspense and some violent and gory scenes as the plot unravels and Ryker carries out his mission in the sweltering heat of Spain’s Costas. The stakes are high and there are twists aplenty! Indeed, The Red Cobra is a real treat for lovers of Spy Thrillers and is, I feel, the author’s best Carl Logan inspired book yet. I am so looking forward to the next in the series.

Please note that an ARC of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of  fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  Amazon US

Connect with the Author

http://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Rob-Sinclair-746087495413628/

**INTERVIEW** Interview with Bestselling Author, Howard Kaplan: Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy Series #2)

Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 2)We are absolutely overwhelmed to be interviewing espionage thriller author, Howard Kaplan, for a second time with regard to his second book of The Jerusalem Spy series, Bullets of Palestine. You may remember we interviewed the best selling author last October when his first book of the series, The Damascus Cover, was about to be filmed as a movie.

DAMASCUS COVER, KaplanWith the author’s personal experiences that inspired The Damascus Cover, and with stars such as Jonathan Reis Meyers (Match Point, The Tudors), Jürgen Prochnow (Das BootThe Da Vinci Code), Navid Negahban (Homeland, character Abu Nazir), Igal Naor (The Honourable Woman), and Sir John Hurt, we are very excited about it’s forthcoming release! For more on the film visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3457508/  With the movie now in post-production and many people awaiting it’s release, now is a great time to check out both books!

Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy series, Book 2)

Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy Series Book 2)

Synopsis:

Two agents. Two opposing sides.

Israeli Agent Shai is dispatched to eliminate a terrorist threat. To succeed in his mission Shai must win the trust of Palestinian Agent Ramzy who will help him gain access to the infamous and dangerous Abu Nidal.

Shai is under orders to kill Ramzy when the mission ends. Instead, they forge a friendship that transcends the hatreds of their heritage. Loyalties are tested. Will they capture Abu Nidal or betray each other? In a conflict where both sides dehumanize each other, two extremely human men, are caught in the cross-hairs of the larger war.

Buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK

INTERVIEW

Hello Howard, Welcome back to A Reader’s Review Blog. The last time we interviewed you for The Damascus Cover you certainly opened our eyes with your fantastic travel and life experiences. Thank you so much for your time and speaking with us again.

1. The last time we ‘spoke’ you were about to visit Casablanca on the film set of The Damascus Cover. How was your experience?

I spent a fabulous week in Casablanca and went out every day on the ten hour shoot. I’m beyond fortunate at the caliber of the cast. John Hurt was not there while I was, but I saw a lot of the romantic scenes shot with Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Olivia Thirlby. Jonny, as JRM likes to be called, is intense, passionate and a perfectionist. His cover is Hans Hoffman, and he does the entire film with a remarkable German accent, his hair dyed blonde. A language coach from Berlin was on the set full time and listened to every take. Both of them were zealous that none of his Irish brogue slip into the German accented English. At breakfast in the hotel, I asked the German actor, Jurgen Prochnow (Das Boot, DaVinci Code) who plays a former Nazi in Damascus how it sounded. With a smile, he said, “Familiar.” Thirlby, best known as the sister in Juno, was particularly interesting. Unlike Jonny who hit the same delivery on take after take, Olivia roamed and tried each one a little differently until she and the director found a remarkable spot in both dialog and facial expressions. The producer told me I’d be bored and want to head off to the more exotic Marrakesh or Fez, but I stayed on set the entire week I was there.

 

2. Shortly after your visit to Casablanca the 2nd edition of Bullets of Palestine (The Jerusalem Spy series #2) was released. Could you tell us when the first edition was published, and if it brought back some memories for you from that time?

 

Bullets of Palestine, first published in 1987, is set 10 years after Damascus. What I was most reminded of in rereading it was all the locales I visited throughout the Middle East and Europe, such as Albufeira on the Portuguese coast to research events that actually happened there, in this case, the shooting at the Socialist International there. This was during Israel’s War with Lebanon and the army took me into Lebanon for a day, as part of a foreign press junket. I did not make it as far as Beirut then, though I had been in Beirut years earlier, but we reached Sidon on the coast and then on the way back to Israel I was able to visit the outdoor Ansar Prison Camp which the Israelis had set up just inside Lebanon. In truth reading it and reliving all this was more fun than I expected, as like many writers I’m among my harshest critics.

3. The bigger picture of Bullets of Palestine is the character, (Israeli) Agent Shai trying to eliminate a terrorist threat, however it is also a story of a growing friendship, between Shai and (Palestinian) Agent Ramzy, and how that friendship is tested to it’s limits. Albeit, not on the same scale of things, being a man of extensive travel, have you experienced a testing/trying relationship due to cultural or religious differences?

I traveled freely to Arab villages in the West Bank and a number of those scenes and meals have made it into Bullets. I’ve spent a lot of time with Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem. Recently a Palestinian merchant I’ve bought silk carpets from over the years took me on a tour of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the back alleys of the Arab Quarter. This spring, after the shoot in Casablanca, I went to Jerusalem. Unlike the characters in my novel I have not had a battle with trust with people from a different culture. I find if you approach people with interest in their world, they’re generally eager to share it with you.

4. Are there completely new characters in Bullets of Palestine, making it a stand alone read, or is there a cross reference with the characters or story with The Damascus Cover?

The common thread between the two books is the Colonel, the head of the Israeli secret service, who is the puppet master in both novels and is played in the film by John Hurt. I created new protagonists for Bullets, because while Damascus dealt with the conflict between Israel and its nation state neighbors, I wanted now to turn to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is the great challenge for both societies. So I created a Palestinian terrorist-novelist, based on a real person, Ghassan Kanafani, who is well known in the Arab world though not in the West. He was so dangerous as a writer that the Israelis blew him up in a car bomb in Beirut. For his Israeli counterpart, I used a very old friend of mine from Jerusalem, Avraham Infeld, as the template. He’s President Emeritus of Hillel worldwide on college campuses, and a larger than life exuberant guy. I wanted characters who were the salt of the earth, deeply ingrained in their own cultures and at the same time thoughtful contemplative men. So I drew on real such people.

5. Are you aware of any plans for Bullets of Palestine to be filmed? Do you think the success of The Damascus Cover will have any bearing on this?

Both the producer and director of the film have asked and have copies of Bullets now, but they’re focused on finishing this film which is in post production. I expect it to hit theaters early in 2016. Sure success matters a lot, it causes people to knock on your door, or the lack of it, to not open theirs.

6. You have some photographs on your Facebook page of meeting the cast and crew? Were there any highlights that you’d like to share?

Navid Negahban who played Abu Wazir in Homeland plays General Sarraj, the head of the Syrian Secret Service, in my film. He arrived in Casablanca a couple of days after I did and they fitted him with a black wig. Since I’m bald I asked if I could have it after the shoot. We had a lot of fun joking about it and someone online photoshopped a picture of me with it on. Jonny is more private, for example ate breakfast in his hotel room rather than the dining room, but I got to spend some time with him between takes. He’s remarkable, left school I think at something like 7th grade but is an autodidact. He can converse easily on a vast range of subjects and in several languages. It was interesting too to watch him with all the people who approached him, many young Moroccan women who wanted a photo with him. He obliged them all. He was particularly charming with children, and you’ll see a photo on my Facebook author page where he’s with the daughter of the owner of the carpet factory where we shot that day. The little girl was nervous and he charmed her into letting me take the photo for her father.

7. Although a story of defence, friendship and loyalties, are there any moments of love/romance in Bullets of Palestine, as you had in The Damascus Cover?

The love stories in Bullets are very different than the one in Damascus. In Damascus, Ari is recently separated from his wife and begins a new torrid romance with someone he’s not sure he can trust. The Palestinian character, Ramzy, in Bullets is in a wonderful marriage but struggling with the difficulties of being gone so much, always in danger, and trying to maintain a home life. The Israeli, Shai, lost his wife in a car accident, has begun a new relationship at home with a younger woman who works in administration inside the Service. It is new love, but there too, like his Palestinian counterpart, they are separated more than together and feel the strain.

8. Are there any moments in Bullets of Palestine that you have based loosely on your own life experiences?

Bullets is not at all based on my life, though it is vastly based on real life events. The Palestinian and Israeli are edged into working together to capture Abu Nidal, who was in fact, the most dangerous terrorist of the 1980s, and a real person. The novel opens with the assassination of the Israeli Ambassador to Great Britain, Shlomo Argov, which is an historical event. Abu Nidal wanted to goad Israeli Prime Minister, Arik Sharon, into invading Lebanon to crush the PLO, who Bu Nidal viewed as too moderate. He succeeded. I land my Palestinian character, Ramzy, in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps when the Israelis surrounded the camps lit the night sky for the Christian Phalange fighters so they could eliminate the PLO fighters hiding in the refugee camps. This too is an historical event. The fighters had already fled and Ramzy witnesses the massacre of old men, women and children by the Lebanese Christians as the Israelis paved the way unaware the fighters were gone. It tests Ramzy to remain working with the Israelis. Then too, unbeknownst to Ramzy, his budding Israeli friend has been ordered to kill him once Abu Nidal is dead.

9. Despite not reading too much fiction yet on the threat of terrorism, I am an avid fan of the tv series Homeland and 24. Do you tend to watch movies/tv programmes in this genre? If so, which ones are your favourite?

I love great suspense films and TV. Emphasis on “great.” Homeland is great, one of the best things of the genre ever done. I watched the Maggie Gyllenthall miniseries The Honourable Woman. She’s marvelous. Igal Naor who played Shlomo in that show is also in my film as a Syrian General and the nemesis of Navid Negahban. But the miniseries was full of cliff hangers and turns meant to be exciting but ultimately were impossible to both follow and believe, as were all the complications. Gary Oldman did an honourable turn as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Solider Spy but it is such a magnificent and dense book that that too was very hard to follow. The earlier 7- part British mini-series with Alec Guinness of the same LeCarre novel is a wonder to behold. The miniseries Dig set in Jerusalem was a mess and unwatchable. Again, some writers and directors think that throwing nonsense cliffhangers at the end of episode creates suspense but ultimately it creates annoyance. Great characters are crucial,which is why too that Homeland is so wonderful and successful.

10. Your work on both books has been extremely successful despite the subject of terrorism being a sensitive one. Have you had any negative reactions to your work?

Bullets has a 4.8 Customer Rating on Amazon out of 5 with only one negative review. Though written in 1987, it seems to have found its time in the current environment. It is greatly realized, or should be, that reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians is the only future for Israel and Palestinians. The book has been widely lauded in both the Arab and Israeli press as well as in mainstream newspapers. However, I expected blowback from those who see Palestinians as “the other”, and who believe might, which is a requirement for deterrence, alone is sufficient. So far it hasn’t come. Maybe those people too, deep down, known a deal needs to be done.

11. After the success of both The Damascus Cover and Bullets of Palestine, have you any plans to release another novel in the Jerusalem Spy series?

I’m working now on a new book that has not been published before called To Destroy Jerusalem. It will deal with the nuclear issue and have the same two protagonists as Bullets. The Colonel will be there though he’s a bit potty now, long in retirement, and rather than pulling the strings, is the moral center Shai, where he goes when trouble or in doubt.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. It has been an absolute pleasure.

Howard Kaplan Author Photo 1About the Author:

Howard Kaplan, a native of Los Angeles, has lived in Israel and traveled extensively through Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. At the age of 21, he had his own spy experience while attending school in Jerusalem, when he was sent on two missions into the Soviet Union to smuggle out a dissident’s manuscript on microfilm. His first trip was a success. On his second trip, however, he was arrested in Khartiv and interrogated for two days in the Ukraine and two days in Moscow, before being released. He holds a BA in Middle East History from UC Berkeley, an MA in the Philosophy of Education from UCLA, and is the author of four novels. Follow him on Twitter at @kaplanhow.

 

 

**INTERVIEW** Howard Kaplan, author of The Damascus Cover – Bestselling Espionage Thriller

DAMASCUS COVER, KaplanWith espionage thriller tv series HOMELAND back on our screens for a fourth season here in the UK, we are certainly excited about today’s post. Today we are privileged in hosting an interview with author Howard Kaplan with regard to his Los Angeles Times bestselling espionage thriller, THE DAMASCUS COVER. The book is currently being made into a feature film starring Jonathan Reis Meyers (Match Point, The Tudors). Howard Kaplan is a Middle East expert and has had his own spy experience smuggling microfilm out of the Ukraine!

THE DAMASCUS COVER was originally published by Dutton (an imprint of Penguin), and has been translated into seven languages. It’s received rave reviews from Kirkus, the Los Angeles Times, BBC News, the Hartford Courant, the Chicago Daily News, the American Library Association, and more (you can see quotes from these reviews below). Clive Cussler, author of the Dirk Pitt Adventure series, says Kaplan is “up there with the best.”

The movie is being produced by H Films and also stars Jürgen Prochnow (Das BootThe Da Vinci Code), Navid Negahban (Homeland, character Abu Nazir), and Igal Naor (The Honourable Woman). For more on the film visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3457508/

Synopsis:

In a last ditch effort to revive his career, washed up agent Ari Ben-Sion accepts an undercover mission he never would have 30 years ago: to smuggle a group of Jewish children out of the Damascus ghetto. Or so he thinks. Once in Damascus, he meets a beautiful American photographer, Kim, who seems to be falling in love with him—but she’s also asking too many questions. Then his communication equipment disappears. His contact never shows up. Just hours before the operation, everything has gone awry.

Desperate to succeed, Ari must navigate the precarious terrain of love and survival in Syria, risking everything…even his life.

Howard Kaplan Author Photo 1About the Author:

Howard Kaplan, a native of Los Angeles, has lived in Israel and traveled extensively through Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. At the age of 21, he had his own spy experience while attending school in Jerusalem, when he was sent on two missions into the Soviet Union to smuggle out a dissident’s manuscript on microfilm. His first trip was a success. On his second trip, however, he was arrested in Khartiv and interrogated for two days in the Ukraine and two days in Moscow, before being released. He holds a BA in Middle East History from UC Berkeley, an MA in the Philosophy of Education from UCLA, and is the author of four novels. Follow him on Twitter at @kaplanhow.

INTERVIEW with HOWARD KAPLAN, The Damascus Cover

Hi Howard,

Welcome to A Reader’s Review Blog! We would like to thank you for participating in an author interview for The Damascus Cover.

1. Did you have any idea how successful The Damascus Cover was going to be?

I was happy to just be published at all with a first novel.  When Dutton sent the book out to the then 10 paperback houses, all ten were interested in reprint rights and Fawcett immediately bid $75,000 for the rights. I was 27 and pleasantly stunned, shocked, thrilled.  Soon foreign translation rights started being sold.  Portuguese rights in Brazil were sold without the publisher even reading the book on my agent’s recommendation, which really surprised me.  Then a publisher in Yugoslavia bought the book but the Central Committee of the Communist Party prevented them from publishing it and banned the book in Communist Eastern Europe.  All this was beyond any expectations of interest I had.  But I always find what happens in life suprising.

2. Being a Middle East expert, I suspect that some characters/scenes are based on experiences you may have had or witnessed. How much of the book would you say is fact over fiction?

See answer to #4   When I was 21 I took a shared taxi from Beirut to Damascus with a close friend.  We visited the famous Omayyad Mosque and then went to visit the Jewish quarter of Damascus.  Soon, we saw a man we had spotted in the Omayyad following us; this was far across the city.  Mike Wallace did two programs on 60 Minutes about the Jewish community of Damascus in the 1970s then about 5,000 strong.  When we were followed in the Jewish quarter we immediately returned to Beirut.  But I later did very detailed research on the city of Damascus.  God bless the Brits, who have gone everywhere and written memoirs about it.

3. I believe that you had a spy experience of your own in the Soviet Union. Could you please tell us a little about that?

I made two trips into the Soviet Union and travelled from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to  Tashkent and Samarkand in Soviet Central Asia.  Under the Soviets any manuscript not yet published was considered property of the state and anybody who emigrated had to leave what they’d written behind where it was then never published.  The first time I went into the Soviet Union, I brought out a dissident’s manuscript on microfilm to London.  On my second trip, I transferred a manuscript from a writer to the Dutch Ambassador inside their embassy; he sent it to the West by diplomatic pouch.  He was a sympathetic friend to the dissidents.  Soviet citizens were prevented from entering foreign embassies, but with an American passport I told the KGB guards outside that I had a close friend who was a friend of the Ambassador’s wife and they let me in. The Ambassador and  I made small talk inside while we passed each other notes.  In the last one he said, “Be careful, this is not James Bond.”  Then he burned all the notes.

4. What was your inspiration to write The Damascus Cover?

When I was in Damascus, I visited Marjeh Square.  In the 1960’s the Israelis had a high placed agent in Damascus, Eli Cohen, who became the chief advisor to the head of the Syrian Minister of Defence.  He was uncovered and hung in Marjeh Square in 1965 though the intelligence he provided enabled Israel to easily take the Golan Heights in the 1967 6 Day War.  It was my inspiration for a novel of an Israeli intelligence agent who penetrates the upper echelons of Syrian Intelligence.

5. Were there any scenes that you found particularly difficult to write?

I wrote the first draft of the book in 9 frenetic months, and enjoyed what I was doing.  I had a detailed map of Damascus taped to my wall.  I had real passion for the injustice in the world:  the folly of the Vietnam War, the murders of the Kennedys so in my mid 20’s I had a lot of anger.  A  lot of that was released in some torture scenes in the novel.  They were not hard for me to write then; they are hard for me to read now.

6. Having travelled in many countries, which is your favourite and why?  

I have great passion for lots of places:  London, the south of France, anywhere in Italy, and Jerusalem, which I know best of all these places.  I’ve had great travel experiences almost everywhere. Once in the Greek section of Cyprus, which appears in The Damascus Cover, we could not understand the menu so the waiter took us into the kitchen and lifted the covers on the pots.  I went on photographic safari in Kenya and Tanzania for 10 days when I was 23.  Most of the other members were Pan Am stewardesses in their late 20s.  I thought I had found Nirvana, but alas they treated me as younger brother but it was great fun nonetheless.

7. What was your reaction to the great reviews you have received and finding out that a movie was to be made?

The reviews came out in 1977 and the movie came together in 2014.  I remember reading once about how hard The Beatles worked, that though the sound seemed effortless, the production of it was not.  I worked very hard on The Damascus Cover, but the calibre of the reviews still surprised and delighted me.  The movie is simply a miracle and a hoot, 37 years after the book was published but it’s testament to how a good story endures the passage of time.

8. How much involvement have you had with the movie production, and will the movie remain true to the story?

I made a few suggestions to the movie script, all of which were greeted by the director  with excitement.  So we have a very good relationship but this is his script and film and I’m thrilled with it.  He has Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Abigail Spencer, Jurgen Prochnow and the actor who played Abu Nazir in Homeland.  It’s almost as good as falling in love.

9. Are you an avid reader? Do you have a favourite author/book?  

I am a great fan and admirer of John le Carre both for the story telling ability, wrestling with moral issues and the calibre of his prose.  I read my regularly for inspiration.

10. What is next for Howard Kaplan?

I have been getting another of my novels, BULLETS OF PALESTINE, ready for release as an Ebook and paperback in November 2014.  It’s as novel of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.  It too seems even more timely than when I originally wrote it.  The first week of November 2014 I’ll be in Casablanca on The Damascus Cover film set.  I’m doing a walk on.

Thank you for your time! We will look forward to hosting The Damascus Cover.  All the best for The Damascus Cover and future works!

Caroline Barker, A Reader’s Review Blog

The Damascus Cover can be purchased at:

Amazon US paperback

Amazon US Kindle version ebook 

Amazon UK paperback

Amazon UK Kindle version ebook

And we are excited to be reviewing Howard Kaplan’s bestseller some time in the near future!

Praise for THE DAMASCUS COVER:

“In the best tradition of the new espionage novel. Kaplan’s grasp of history and scene creates a genuine reality.  He seems to know every back alley of Damascus and Cyprus.”—Los Angeles Times

“A mission inside Syria, a last love affair, and the unfolding of the plot within a plot are handled by the author with skill and a sure sense of the dramatic.”—The American Library Association (starred review)

“A fine, taut, tense spy story full of furious action.”—The Hartford Courant

“It’s suspense all the way through.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Exceedingly rich in color about the Syrian capital.”—Chicago Daily News

“The plotting is beautiful.”—BBC News

“… a smartly paced criss-cross laced with enough Mid-East semicruises to snare the MacInness armchair tourists.”—Kirkus

 

A Reckless Soul, A Secrets of the Zodiac Series #2, by Elizabeth Cole

Romantic and Suspenseful Regency Spy Novel

 

8969226A Reckless Soul is the second book in the Secrets of the Zodiac, a series that blends romantic suspense with the rich background of the Regency period. I reviewed the first book in the series, A Heartless Design last year and loved it!Just in case you missed my review you can find it by scrolling down after you have read my thoughts on A Reckless Soul.

 

Book Blurb for A Reckless Soul

A seductive agent, a disillusioned lord, and a web of deceit only they can untangle…

Sophie Bertrand is skilled in acting, espionage, and the subtle art of seduction. An independent spirit, she fought her way from rough streets to the top secret circle of spies known as the Zodiac. Her newest assignment is one of her most delicate yet: hunt down a traitor within Britain’s own government. But there’s a catch…this time she can’t work alone.

Bruce Allander has a title, honor, wealth…but he’d trade it all to restore his family. The Zodiac gives him a chance for justice in a world that’s already taken too much from him. Now he finds himself close to this captivating Frenchwoman—possibly too close. Sophie defies all his expectations, yet in her he senses a kindred soul.

Passion draws the two together, but a web of betrayals threatens to tear them apart. To survive, they have to trust each other. They have to be a little reckless…

A RECKLESS SOUL is the second book in the Secrets of the Zodiac, a series that blends romantic suspense with the rich background of the Regency period.

My Review

Having read Elizabeth’s Cole’s A Heartless Design, the first book in the series, which I LOVED, I had high expectations of this book, the second in the series. I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed and I ADORED this read!

To secure the evidence for a traitor in the British government, the Zodiac agents in this novel must impersonate another couple at a house party hosted by a Frenchman of questionable morals. Although both agents, Sophie and Bruce, prefer to work alone, with the safety of the country on the line the stakes are high and they must put their personal prejudices aside to fulfil their mission’s objectives. Their mission is fraught with danger and deceit and the author once again weaves an inventive plot containing strong male and female leads and credible adversaries. If you like suspense with your Regency romance, complete with lashings of danger, sexy scenes and characters who turn the rules of the establishment on its head, than this series is for you.

The hero and the heroine in this novel are fascinating characters. Sophie, as Libra, the only female agent, is far from your usual simpering Regency miss. She is an independent woman, skilled in the art of seduction and disguise. She prides herself on the success of her missions and uses her body and mind to reach her goals, taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. Her life is totally devoted to her work for the Zodiac, the organisation whose agents commit their very lives to protect the safety of the realm. Sophie has a low opinion of men in general and includes Bruce in this category after sparks fly at their initial meetings. Despite this, she is attracted to him and throughout their mission, where they are compelled to work very closely together, finds it increasingly difficult to maintain her usual emotional distance.

Bruce, agent Scorpio, is a Viscount. He is a lonely man, his parents are both deceased and his brother is estranged. As the eldest son he knows that he will have to continue the family line one day but not whilst he is working as an agent. In contrast to Sophie, he takes great care to plan his mission down to the last detail. He is not happy at all with Sophie’s approach of seizing the initiative, believing it is risky, although he does acknowledge her many skills, particularly in the art of seduction…… Bruce is both attracted to and confounded by Sophie, torn between protecting her and strangling her! He also begins to question whether or not he can trust her given the fact that she is French and could be working for the enemy as a double agent……

When this couple are not performing their assigned roles they are either involved in a heated exchange or trying to fight their feelings for each other. The sexual tension between them is high and there are a number of passionate and heartfelt lovemaking scenes, the emotional intensity of which rapidly increase as the tale progresses. This novel has a strong plot and is also one sexy read!

Although much of the plot concerns Sophie and Bruce at the house party, we also get to meet other agents, including their handler Aries and Sebastien Thorne and his wife Cordelia, the hero and heroine of A Heartless Design. The villains and their methods are truly evil and there is never a dull moment.

I recommend A Reckless Soul to readers who enjoy a Regency romance, especially those who enjoy some adventure, mystery and suspense and a strong male and unconventional female lead.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to be by the publisher for the purpose of a fair and honest review. 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

Publisher

Skyspark Books http://www.skysparkbooks.com/a-reckless-soul/

Connect with the Author

http://elizabethcole.co/

https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethColeWrites

 

 

 

 

Gentleman Traitor by Alan Williams

Gentleman_traitor_final_RESIZEDAlan Williams’ ‘Gentleman Traitor’ Book Blurb (followed by review):

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WORLD’S MOST NOTORIOUS MASTER-SPY COMES IN FROM THE RUSSIAN COLD?

After years of exile in Russia, Kim Philby has had enough. He wants out. But where can he go? He knows too much to be let loose. Above all, he knows too much about his old accomplices who still operate at the highest levels of the British Establishment, occupying top Whitehall positions. So once he sticks his nose outside his privileged Soviet lair, the old wolf’s as good as dead. MI6, the KGB – above all, MI6 – will ruthlessly hunt him down. But Philby is, after all, one of the most skilful agents of all time. So he risks it.

Vicious power politics in London and Moscow… murder beside the Black Sea… bloody massacres in the heart of Africa – as Philby makes his break, violent death follows him. And British Intelligence is threatened with the exposure of the greatest infamy in its history…

Spy fiction from the same stable as Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

Originally released in 1974, Gentleman Traitor has been re-released in December 2013 by Hashtag Books.

I have to say that Gentleman Traitor was an on/off/on read for me, although I did read this over the busy festive period. The very first chapter gripped me with it’s drama and violence, after what was thought to be a group of terrorists entering a busy hotel in Africa, opening fire and killing every soul there, including youngsters! This was quite horrific and at one point in particular with young girls involved, it was quite emotional and tragic.

I just had to read on and longed to find out who was behind this attack. Were the culprits terrorists with serious political issues or could there be some other explanation to this horror? However, the following chapters focused on journalist, Barry Cayle, who was set to write a book on spy and traitor, Kim Philby, who had been living in exile in Russia for the last few years with a reputation of a man who likes a drink or two. Although the initial chapters were of interest and a great basis and background for the remainder of the story, I was a little disappointed that there was no more mention of the event from the first chapter and that the pace of the book was a little slower than I had expected.

The reader follows Cayle’s journey through most of the first half of the story and we find out about Philby’s desired comeback and the story picks up again at a nice pace as Cayle gets to meet Philby. Alan Williams describes the distances that Philby (and anyone connected to him) needs to make to keep everything under wraps extremely well and clear, making it a nice read to follow at the same time as providing the reader with a more complete picture of Philby’s way of life and everything he has to consider before making a move. There are moments in Gentleman Traitor when you simply just don’t know what is going to happen and when, making it an intense read at parts.

I like Cayle’s enthusiasm and determination to acquaint himself with Philby as much as he can. Cayle knows he is in dangerous waters but he still has this drive to discover as much as he can and to be as close as he can if and when anything should happen. Philby, although a traitor, doesn’t seem to be a character the reader dislikes. He has his problems and, knowing he is a hunted man, he has to go to extremes to avoid capture or even death. These events unfold in tragic and disastrous ways for some others, which is incredibly sad and unfortunate for those involved. However, I found myself wanting him to be able to make it through all of this and be able to live the rest of his life in a more relaxed manner and completely disconnected from the British and Russian Establishments.

I must admit a little more speed would have been welcomed during the first section but I must hand it to Alan Williams that he has written this novel well. With a great deal of politics continuing in the background of the main plot, involving the USSR’s KGB and the British MI5 and MI6 and also the geographical scope covering Europe and Africa mostly, one cannot doubt that Alan had extensive knowledge in this area. (I have later came to realise that Alan was in fact a great journalist himself, corresponding from across the globe, and at times when tensions must have been high, in Vietnam, for example.) It was also quite exciting to discover that Kim Philby was a real-life spy who did live in Russia. A character I am sure Alan Williams met once, briefly in Beirut. If so, this explains the storyline of Cayle and Philby, i.e. Cayle is possibly a fictional character based on Williams himself.

After hoping for a little more action in the first half, I did find the latter chapters somewhat fast moving and exciting in comparison. This half of the book certainly goes into the details of Philby’s ‘escape’ from Russia. From hijacking planes, travelling through Scandinavia, keeping an extremely low profile and maintaining an alias this second half becomes quite tense and gripping at times! Without wanting to spoil the ending, I have to say that I was surprised at the ending but found it interesting and liked it a great deal. For me, it was left open with a chance to write a sequel, however, I do like the idea that the reader can still ask questions and perhaps make up their own ending. This is not to say that on the most part stories weren’t wrapped up, because in many respects they were. The story truly came full circle.

Once I realised that Gentleman Traitor was written in 1974, before I began to read the book,  I did consider how I would find the language of the era and questioned whether or not this would be a difficult story to follow. But, as I mentioned above Williams has written this thriller well. It is easy to follow, informative of some political views of the day and well explained. As I was born a good eight years after the original novel, my knowledge of the political states of the countries involved and the espionage that went along with  it is very little. For instance, I was aware of the KGB in the USSR but only as I was an avid fan of the fictional tv series ‘The Professionals’ CI5 (the re-runs in the late 1990’s). Many of the episodes focused on foreign politics and MI5/6 and the KGB and more. Gentleman Traitor has made me more interested in the politics of the 1970’s, even if just to gain a small background knowledge.

I did carry out a little digging and found this great article on Alan Williams, and also found out some more ‘facts’ on Wiki.

Gentleman Traitor is available in Kindle edition  on Amazon UK for 77p, and on Amazon US for $1.25. (Prices are correct at the time of posting but are subject to change.) You can also find paperback copies of Gentleman Traitor on Amazon too!

Gentleman Traitor was received gratefully by publisher, Hashtag Books, in return for an honest and fair review.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker