Our Man In Kuwait Playlist

Our Man In Kuwait Playlist

Enjoy some of the songs which inspired Our Man In Kuwait.

 

  1. Finlandia: Sibellius    (the record Ophelia Dickson leant Gordon Carlisle)
  2. The Talk Of The Town: Ray Conniff Singers (Played at Golf Dance)
  3. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas: Nat King Cole
  4. Goldfinger: Shirley Bassey  (Ian Fleming arrives in Kuwait)
  5. Stranger in Paradise: Tony Bennett from Kismet (heard by Sylvie when she runs away)
  6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: The Platters (Popular song. Is Gordon blindly in love)
  7. Alf Leila We Leila: Umm Kulthum (heard over the radio by Brigadier General Mustafa al-Ramiz al-Sabah)
  8. James Bond Theme: The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra  (into the desert)
  9. Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall: The Ink Spots (Played at Carlisle dinner party)
  10. From Russia With Love: Matt Munro  (Who is Agent Alex?)
  11. As Time Goes By: David Kates 
  12. Rockin Around The Christmas Tree: Brenda Lee (Jean Beresford’s Christmas choice)

 

Five Fast Facts about Our Man In Kuwait 

 

Five Fast Facts about Our Man In Kuwait

Five Fast Facts about Our Man In Kuwait

 

An imminent invasion by Iraq, big power conflict: sun, sex and spies in the 1960s Middle East

In 1958, Abdul Karim Qasim seized power in Iraq. Many members of the West-friendly Hashemite regime were murdered by the military. This raised fears of a domino effect in the region. In March 1959 Iraq swapped alliances from the Baghdad Pact to the Soviet Union. In 1960 an Arab League declaration disputed the southern Iraq border. Iraq claimed Kuwait-based drilling tapped into their oil fields. As Kuwait approached independence from Britain in 1961, Qasim said Kuwait belonged to Iraq.  He threatened invasion. This is the background to Our Man In Kuwait. 

Much of the action in Our Man In Kuwait takes place in Al-Ahmadi, a town built in the 1940s to house employees of the Kuwait Oil Company. It’s social hub was The Hubara Club. With its Olympic sized swimming pool, formal dances and chatty bars, ‘the Club’ is where Gordon Carlisle and his wife hang out.

In Our Man In Kuwait Gordon Carlisle befriends Ian Fleming when he arrives in Kuwait. He is unaware that Fleming is working for Naval Intelligence and has been sent to check him out after a series of unexplained deaths. They discuss the  status of journalist Pip Foster who is supposedly working for MI6.  In real life,  Ian Fleming had been been commissioned to write a book on the oil industry by the Kuwait Oil Company. Although Fleming entitled it State of Excitement the book was never published because the authorities were unhappy with what he wrote.  

‘Ian Fleming goes on a private desert  trip into the desert with Gordon Carlisle to hunt. The prey is the houbara, a rare desert bird whose meat is prized as an aphrodisiac. The tradition of falconry goes back thousands of years. However today these birds are internationally protected.  In Our Man In Kuwait the party are followed by a gun-toting gang, leading Carlisle to suspect an attempted assassination. This photograph was taken from the real-life expedition.

When they meet up, Ian Fleming tells Gordon Carlisle he has been staying with the Beirut MI6 station chief Nicholas Elliot. The Lebanese capital was indeed a hotbed of spies in 1960 because of escalation of the Cold War. Beirut was the where Russian spy Kim Philby worked as Middle Eastern correspondent for the Observer and the Economist before his defection.  A romantic place of intrigue, with its casinos and illustrious nightclubs,mountains and seafront, it was considered the Paris of the Middle East. It is 800 kilmes from Kuwait. Later in Our Man In Kuwait we learn Gordon’s estranged wife has been sighted there at The Saint George Hotel which leads him to assume she is having an affair.

More Fast Facts – The Killing Of The Cherrywood MP

More Fast Facts – The Killing Of The Cherrywood MP

The Return Of The Isis Bride

Up until March 2019, when it lost its final piece of territory, ISIS had recruited thousands of young people from the West. A high proportion of the recruits were women.

Today Europe is facing a new threat. Radicalised individuals once committed to ISIS ideology return. There’s little armed conflict in the region which was once the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq. But reports claim thousands of sleeper agents in the West remain a potential threat.

What happens when former brides or ISIS fighters are repatriated?

Many serve jail sentences. Last month, Belgium took back six former Isis brides and 10 children from prison camp in Syria. Some who renounce their former faith move on to work on counter-terrorism

What’s the public perspective?

Divided. Some see the women as victims who need another chance.Their lives are at risk in Syria. Shamima Begun, now aged 22, could face execution if she faces trial there for joining ISIS.

Sympathisers express concern the children born to former Isis brides are more at risk of radicalisation in the camps. Others regard the former Jihadi female recruits should never return to their former countries. They argue they deserve to stay where they are and consider them a future potential risk to the West.

No one wants them.

Is ISIS Defeated?

On January 20, 2022, insurgents affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), attacked Al-Sina prison in Al-Hasakah in Syria’s far northeast. The attack sent a message that the organization still has significant military, financial, and media abilities.The post-caliphate strategy for insurgencies is not necessarily contingent on territorial control.

 

How do former Isis brides feature in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP?

“Taut, hard-boiled, detailed and funny.” THE KILLING OF THE CHERRYWOOD MP covers the search for a neo-Fascist extremist with a vendetta against former ISIS brides.

In this HOUSE OF CARDS style grassroots thriller, an off-the-wall Private Investigator goes rogue to save her own skin and foils a deadly terrorist plot.

Do the press follow them?

Some repatriated Isis brides lead future lives in obscurity. Others change their image dramatically and hit the headlines again for different reasons, such as British born Texan resident Tania Joya who had a nine-month affair with a married Congressman Van Taylor.

More Fast Facts – The Secret War

More Fast Facts – The Secret War

The Confucius Institute

The Confucius Institute promotes itself as an education and language programme.  Founded in 2004, it has 500 centres on six continents. There are branches at many British universities. The influence of the Chinese Communist Party over Chinese students in the UK is one theme running through The Secret War.

 

The China Research Group set up by Conservative MP warns that:

  • It’s monitored by China
  • China approves teachers
  • Instructed not to talk about Tibet or Taiwan
  • Students complain of being monitored
  • Affecting free speech by discouraging debates
  • Promoting Chinese Propaganda

 

What to the CRG group want?

  • Tabled an amendment to the Higher Education) Freedom of Speech) Bill to
  • force universities to report funding and activities
  • allow ministers to end partnerships with them over freedom of information concerns.
  • Sweden closed Confucius institutes in 2020.

Chinese Trojan Horse

US academic Lee Edwards described them as “modern equivalent of a Trojan horse, seemingly benign and apolitical, but committed in shaping our understanding of an authoritarian adversary.”

 

What is Soft Political Power

  • Opposite of hard power (aggressive)
  • Diplomacy and culture (manipulation)

 

Sweden 

Sweden closed its Confucius Institutes in 2020

5 Political Thrillers to Spill the Beans on the System

5 Political Thrillers to Spill the Beans on the System

What books by John Le Carre, Ian Fleming and my own have in common

If a book is based on personal experience it has an edge to it. So when I write my thrillers, even though they contain ample doses of make-believe, I try to anchor them to something which has happened to me. Recently I was interviewed by Ben Shepherd on some of the background to my first political thriller The Missing Activist and how it measured up to other books I’d read.Read the blog post The best political thrillers to spill the beans on the system on Shepherd.com 

7 Must Read Books on Bullying

7 Must Read Books on Bullying

Bullying in Fiction. Domestic noir to terrorism thrillers.

 

 

 

Carrie by Stephen King

The subject of bullying crops up in many of Stephen King’s early books, but his best known is his very first. Carrie is the story of a misunderstood high school girl Carrie White, her extraordinary telekinetic powers, and her violent rampage of revenge at her treatment.

 A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Written by a Japanese American novelist and published in 2013, this is the story of sixteen-year-old Nao who suffered aching loneliness because of her classmates’ bullying. She decides to take her own life, but before she does that, she plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. Described as a beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.

 Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Written by the bestselling author of twenty-five internationally novels Nineteen Minutes examines a school shooting in a small town in the States. Lawyer Jordan McAfee finds himself defending a youth who desperately needs someone on his side, while intrepid detective Patrick DuCharme works with a primary witness: the daughter of the superior court judge assigned to the case. Picoult has some questions on her website relating to the bullying in the book. 

 Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside, he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why..

 Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Another book about a school tragedy, aimed at the young adult audience, this book tells the story of the girlfriend of the perpetrator. Valerie Leftman is shot trying to stop her boyfriend Nick killing a classmate. She finds herself implicated in the shootings because of a list she helped create about people and things they hated. Val returns to school to complete her studies and confront her guilt. Written by a former humour columnist, the Kansas author has won a heap of awards for this book.

 Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High. Now Regina’s been frozen out, and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina were guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumours are far from the terrifying truth, and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. Tensions grow and the abuse worsens, as the last days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be(less)

 Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. Beforehand he must say goodbye to those who matter to him most. Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

 

7 Must-Read Books on Isis Brides

7 Must-Read Books on Isis Brides

Jihadi Fiction. Terrorism Thrillers for our times.

What makes books about Jihadi brides so intriguing are the characters and their motivations, their expectations and disappointments. What makes a teenage girl change her way of life so completely? And will the society they rejected ever accept them back? People are unforgiving, as we have seen this week, with Shamima Begum’s case being kicked out of court.

My novel The Missing Activist features a British-born Muslim convert Zinah al-Rashid who recruits brides to send to the Islamic State.

The sequel The Killing of the Cherrywood MP picks up on the collapse of the Caliphate. Girls want to return to their countries of birth, but public opinion is against it. And for those who have either slipped back and have put their past behind them, there are always those who resent them deeply and exact revenge. When a sharia-supporting MP is murdered, it seems as if there is a connection.

The killer questions

What fascinates me is the sharp contrast between the stable, egalitarian, comfortable Western lifestyles and that of the ISIS’ misogynistic society. Why have so many European women left behind the freedom and privilege of a peaceful, wealthy existence to join a brutal regime addicted to fighting? Are they radicalised?  Or seeking adventure?  Has feminism a part to play in driving them away? What meaning to their lives were they craving? And how did they find it? Or do they view their adventure as escapism rather like a macabre reality show?

Who’s writing?

Some authors of the excellent books which feature Jihadi women are writing from personal experience, others as a result of research work into the subject. Many of these narratives explore just those killer questions.

Operation Jihadi Bride by John Carney Clifford Thurlow

 Hearing terrifying stories first-hand from naïve young girls tricked, abused and enslaved by ISIS, an ex-British Army soldier set up a high-risk operation to rescue as many as he could. Soldier Magazine’s book of the month, this true story with AK-47s and 9mm Glocks reads like a military thriller

  

Bride of ISIS: One Young Woman’s Path into Homegrown Terrorism by Anne Speckhard

Written by a counter-terrorism expert and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Security Studies at Georgetown University, she based this book on the true story of Shannon Conley, an American teen from Denver, Colorado seduced on the net, converted to Islam, took the niqab, and who ultimately ended up in the clutches of ISIS.

 The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity and My Fight Against the Islamic State by Nadia Murad and Jenna Krajeski

Written by a human rights activist and recipient of the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize and the Sakharov Prize, this inspiring memoir covers the life of a 23-year-old Yazidi woman from her peaceful childhood in a remote village in Iraq to being captured and enslaved by Isis.

 Undercover Jihadi Bride: Inside Islamic State’s Recruitment Networks by Anna Erelle

Written by an undercover journalist who creates an online identity called Melodie to investigate the recruitment of brides over the internet, this is a harrowing tale. She meets an ISIS brigade leader on Facebook. In 48 hours he has ‘fallen in love’ with her, calls her every hour, urges her to marry him, join him in Syria in a life of paradise and join his jihad.

 

Guest House for Young Widows by Azadeh Moaveni

The work of a journalist and academic, Azadeh Moaveni book takes us into the school hallways of London, kitchen tables in Germany, the coffee shops in Tunis, the caliphate’s ‘Guest House for Young Widows’ where wives of the fallen waited for remarriage. A nuanced and sometimes compassionate take on the complexity of the subject.

Jihadi Bride by Alastair Luft

A graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada, and a 20-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, Luft’s work is a plot-driven family drama. A father’s carefully controlled world working for an organisation that prevents radicalised individuals from joining extremist groups is upended when his daughter, Arielle, leaves university to join the Islamic Caliphate.

The Good Sister by Morgan Jones

 The story of a 17-year-old Muslim girl from London who goes to Syria to join ISIS, and her Christian father’s dangerous attempt to ‘rescue’ her. Written by a former investigator and writer of spy thrillers, this is a raw insight into the horrors of war in Syria and an examination of the insidious grip of radicalisation.

  

Any missed?  Get in touch.

Reality Shows, Political Thrillers and the Shamima Begum Conundrum

Reality Shows, Political Thrillers and the Shamima Begum Conundrum

So many young women seek instant fame, the type they might find by being a contestant on a reality TV show. Was that what drew Shamima Begun to Syria? Was the appeal of ISIS the same?

An extract from The Killing of the Cherrywood MP: In Bronzefield Women’s Prison, Ashford, Tammy Bishop was conveying her good news to her psychiatrist Ali al-Sayed. It was late Friday afternoon, 12 April. She’d been baring her soul to him for months.

He travelled all the way from Cherrywood on a fortnightly basis to listen. And followed everything about her past, picked up on everything instantaneously. Her work for ISIS. What went on with the prisoners. The bullying and backstabbing. He’d absorbed every minor detail. They’d even become rather buddy-buddy. And he wore well-tailored suits, très hot.

She knew the moment she saw his face drop, he’d not taken the announcement of her early release well. So why had she told him in the first place? Because she thought he was an ally, that’s why. Hadn’t he helped to get her freed?

The officers advised the inmates not to let on to anyone if the system gave them an early release. Prisoners had a nose for news which travelled to the wrong people quick as a flash. But she’d never thought that would apply to Ali al-Sayed. His reaction to what she told him had been unexpected. He was being a bloody pain.

Now her stomach was in knots. There was a clattering and a jangling of keys from outside the room . But inside all was silent. She hated that.

‘I want you to tell me exactly what you will do with yourself when you leave here.’ There was a tightness in his eyes.

‘I’m bursting to talk about it. I’ve got loads and loads of ideas.’

The above is an excerpt from my political thriller and those ideas Tammy Bishop was referring to included her fantasy of becoming a reality TV star. But it could easily be the story of Shamima Begum, who left Britain to join the terror group in February 2015 and could shortly be back in the UK. 

Shamima Begum

Ms Begum lived under Islamic State rule for over three years before she was found, nine months pregnant, at the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria in February last year. Three of her babies had died. She told reporters she didn’t regret joining ISIS, but still begged to be rescued and brought back to the UK. 

Those in favour of her return say that she was a child when she left the country to join ISIS; that she has renounced her support for Isis, and that she is not in any way a security risk.

Those against believe she is a genuine threat to national security; that she is unlikely to face prosecution in the British courts if she is allowed to return, and that she will become a pin-up for Islamist extremism if this happens. A conundrum indeed.

Five Fast Facts about The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.

 

Check out the trailer to The Killing of the Cherrywood MP

Kurdaitcha, Corona and The Missing Activist

Kurdaitcha, Corona and The Missing Activist

 Pointing the Bone

“The aborigines have a tribal practice called Pointing the Bone. This is a method of execution that leaves no trace and rarely fails to kill its victim.”

“The bone can be from a kangaroo or an emu, and its shape varies from tribe to tribe. It is six to nine inches with one rounded end through which a hole is bored and tapers to a point as sharp as a needle. A piece of hair is threaded through the hole and glued into place with a gummy resin from the spinifex bush.”

“Before it can be used, the bone or Kundela is charged in a secret ritual performed by priests. It is then handed to Kurdaitcha, who are the tribe’s ritual killers. Their task is to hunt down the condemned.”

“The name Kurdaitcha comes from the special slippers the aborigines wear on their quest. Made from cockatoo or emu feathers and human hair, they leave no footprints.”

The Kurdaitcha hunt their victim

“The Kurdaitcha who hunt in twos or threes, wear feathered masks and stick kangaroo hair to their bodies with human blood. They will pursue a quarry for years, never giving up until the curse is delivered.”

“Once found, one priest goes down on to one knee and points the Kundela. The victim is frozen with fear as the Kurdaitcha chant the short piercing mantra then return to their village where the bone is ritually burnt.”

“For most tribal members, having the bone pointed is a sentence of death. Waiting for the inevitable, coupled with shame and isolation, often forces the victim to suicide.”

The above is, in fact, an excerpt from The Missing Activist. The themes of bullying and isolation and rejection by peers runs throughout the thriller.

Snitching during a crisis

 But it usually begins somewhere. And according to sociologist Patrick Bergemann, author of Judge Thy Neighbour snitching surges in times of crisis. Like during the deadly COVID pandemic.

The charge: Deliberately breaking lock-down rules to endanger life. Fair enough. But extensions to this include double jogs. Greedy shopping lists. Standing too close to someone at the shops. Not clapping the NHS on a Thursday,  not clapping loud enough, not clapping long enough.

The names given to community spies are plentiful. Rats, grasses, snitches, informers, dobbers (Australian), chivatos (Spanish) Spitzel (German), mouchards (French), stikker (Danish), Jatten (Dutch)

And often they get it wrong. Deliberately. That’s when it becomes insidious.

Read Five Fast Facts

Five Fast Facts: The Killing of the Cherrywood MP

Five Fast Facts: The Killing of the Cherrywood MP

The Killing of the Cherrywood MP is the second novel in the thriller series featuring London Private Investigator Karen Andersen. It’s 2019 and MI5 is set to release the reformed female Jihadi terrorist Zinah al-Rashid from prison.

The Killing of the Cherrywood MP tackles Far-Right politics which have existed in the UK since the 1930s. From the 1980s, the term has mainly been used to describe groups such as the fictional English Concern Group featured in the book. Their ideology revolves around the wish to preserve what they perceive to be British culture.

The exclusive Ritz Club, London’s most famous gambling casino is at 150 Piccadilly and is open 24 hours a day. It features several times in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.

UK Jihadi brides returning to the UK following the fall of the Islamic State is one of topics explored in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. Britain has by far the highest rate of repatriated former ISIS brides in Europe. Hundreds of Britons travelled to Syria and Iraq amid the rise of ISIL. Nearly half have been able to return safely. Only a few have been prosecuted in British courts. The country with the next highest proportion was Germany.

St. Tropez is a fishing port in the South of France. It’s home to ome to some of the most prestigious yachts on the planet. An unexplained death at sea is a subplot of The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.  There are 360,000 deaths by drowning worldwide every year.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

 

Tories, Jihadi Brides, Harrods, Exclusion Bullying and Battle Buses. A quick breakdown of the political thriller The Missing Activist.

” involv’s?Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 1: CCHQ  is the headquarters of the British Conservative Party. It houses central staff and committee members and maintains overall responsibility for targeting voters and seats, including shortlisting and finalising the selection of conservative candidates across the United Kingdom for local and national elections.[ It is also used as a phone bank for volunteers like Robin Miller and is featured in The Missing Activist.

What is CCHQ?

The headquarters of the British Conservative Party. It houses central staff and committee members and maintains overall responsibility for targeting voters and seats. In addition, it shortlists and finalises the selection of Tory candidates across the UK for both local and national elections. CCHQ operates a phone bank for volunteers like Robin Miller, and features in The Missing Activist.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 2: Harrods in Knightsbridge is the luxury department store where Karen Andersen’s nemesis Zinah al-Rashid meets her first recruit in The Missing Activist. It was set up as a one-room outlet in 1849 by Charles Harrod and today houses 330 and is owned by the state of Qatar.
Harrods

Key Fact 2. A  luxury department store in Knightsbridge, London. It’s where Karen Andersen’s nemesis Zinah al-Rashid meets her first Jihadi bride recruit in The Missing Activist. Charles Harrod began the world famous shop as a one-room outlet in 1849 but today Harrods houses 330. The State of Qatar owns it.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 3L British girls lured to Syria to become jihadi brides is one of the topics of The Missing Activist. when  PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many have made the journey to join Isis. Studies done by RUSI  suggest the draws are many. They  include a rejection of Western feminism, peer influence, female romantic optimism and the chance to be part of something new, exciting and illicit
British Born Isis Brides

Fast Fact 3 In The Missing Activist, PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many British girls journeyed to Syria to marry Jihadi fighters. Studies by RUSI suggest the draws include a rejection of Western feminism, peer influence, female romantic optimism and the chance to be part of something new, exciting and illicit.

 

The Battle Bus

The name given to a coach or vehicle used as both a method of transport and also a centre of operations. A major incident occurs aboard the BB in The Missing Activist.  In 2017 a scandal involving a busload of Tory activists threatened to overturn the government and stop Brexit when the party did not declare costs in their overall campaigning budget.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist. Fact 5:Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual "executioner" in the aboriginal culture who “points the bone” at a victim to expel them from their community.  If this happens no one is allowed any further contact with them. Victims usually die a self-imposed death in days. In Australia, the practice is still common enough that hospital staff are trained to manage illness caused by bone pointing. Its modern equivalent is exclusion bullying which is a theme running through  The Missing Activist.

Who are the Kurdaitcha?

Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual ‘executioner’ in Aboriginal culture who ‘points the bone at a victim to expel them from their community. If this happens, no one can contact them or mix with them. Victims usually die a self-imposed death in days. In Australia, the practice is still common enough that they train hospital staff to manage illness caused by “bone pointing”. Its modern equivalent is exclusion bullying which is a theme running through The Missing Activist and Fast Fact Five.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

 

Tories, Jihadi Brides, Harrods, Exclusion Bullying and Battle Buses. A quick breakdown of the political thriller The Missing Activist.

What is CCHQ?

The headquarters of the British Conservative Party. It houses central staff and committee members and maintains overall responsibility for targeting voters and seats. In addition, it shortlists and finalises the selection of Tory candidates across the UK for both local and national elections. CCHQ operates a phone bank for volunteers like Robin Miller, and features in The Missing Activist.

Harrods

Key Fact 2. A luxury department store in Knightsbridge, London. It’s where Karen Andersen’s nemesis Zinah al-Rashid meets her first Jihadi bride recruit in The Missing Activist. Charles Harrod began the world famous shop as a one-room outlet in 1849 but today Harrods houses 330. The State of Qatar owns it.

Fast Fact 3 In The Missing Activist, PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many British girls journeyed to Syria to marry Jihadi fighters.

British Born Isis Brides

Fast Fact 3 In The Missing Activist, PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many British girls journeyed to Syria to marry Jihadi fighters. Studies by RUSI suggest the draws include a rejection of Western feminism, peer influence, female romantic optimism and the chance to be part of something new, exciting and illicit.

The name given to a coach or vehicle used as both a method of transport and also a centre of operations.

The Battle Bus

The name given to a coach or vehicle used as both a method of transport and also a centre of operations. A major incident occurs aboard the BB in The Missing Activist. In 2017 a scandal involving a busload of Tory activists threatened to overturn the government and stop Brexit when the party did not declare costs in their overall campaigning budget.

Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual ‘executioner’ in Aboriginal culture who ‘points the bone at a victim to expel them from their community.

Who are the Kurdaitcha?

Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual ‘executioner’ in Aboriginal culture who ‘points the bone at a victim to expel them from their community. If this happens, no one can contact them or mix with them. Victims usually die a self-imposed death in days. In Australia, the practice is still common enough that they train hospital staff to manage illness caused by “bone pointing”. Its modern equivalent is exclusion bullying which is a theme running through The Missing Activist and Fast Fact Five.

 

Updated:  The Secret War Resources

Updated: The Secret War Resources

A lot of what you read in The Secret War is based on fact. Here are a few articles which may be relevant.

Read more here

China’s Youth Embrace Chairman Mao

Read more here

The Communist Party of China occupies all the political space in contemporary China

Read more here

China investigated over weaponising coronaviruses: The Secret Report

Read more here

CCP infiltrates US firms and universities

Read more here

The first UK biochemistry department founded at University of Liverpool in 1902

Read more here

China’s fake news machine rewrites history

Read more here

Updated:  The Secret War Resources

Updated: The Secret War Resources

A lot of what you read in The Secret War is based on fact. Here are a few articles which may be relevant. Read more here China’s Youth Embrace Chairman Mao Read more here The Communist Party of China occupies all the political space in contemporary China Read more...

Five Fast Facts: The Secret War

Five Fast Facts: The Secret War

The Official Secrets Act (OSA) is legislation mainly related to national security, but in unrevised form can include all information held by government bodies. It commonly required people working with sensitive information to adhere to it. In The Secret War, Karen Andersen has a conversation with her time to time boss Quacker reminding him that signing is intended more as a reminder to the person that they are under such obligations as the act is a law, not a contract, and individuals are bound by it whether or not they have signed.

In The Secret War, we meet Tomio Nakamura, recently retired as a professor of biochemistry at the University of Liverpool because of a scandal involving a Chinese student. In 2006 the real-life Liverpool University became the first in the UK to establish an independent university in China, making it a world’s first. In addition, Chinese now make up one in five of the University’s student population. So much so, British MPs have warned of the influence of the Chinese government on campus. Liverpool has a long history of research into tropical medicines. It played a major part in the developing drug treatments and vaccines at the outbreak of Covid-19.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) commonly known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the founding and sole governing political party of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Founded in 1921, with the help of the Soviet Union, the party grew quickly. The People’s Republic of China, formed on 1 October 1949, presided over by Xi Jinping controls the country’s armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The CCP puts a great deal of effort into the party schools and into crafting its ideological message. In Book 3 of the Karen Andersen thriller series, she looks for the link between Professor Tomio Nakamura and the  CPC.

A Transatlantic cruise or “crossing” is one of the most luxurious ways to make a journey between Europe and the America and embarked on by grand ocean liners of yesteryear. The Queen Mary 2 still undertakes the route regularly. Much of the action in The Secret War takes place on board the fictional Princess Hyacinth, which sails the iconic route from Southampton to New York in seven days. The voyage is 3,150 nautical miles, or 3,625 statute miles.

Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, insects, and fungi is a crime under the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). In contrast, defensive biological research for peaceful purposes is not prohibited such as that carried out at the Ministry of Defence’s Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. Biological warfare is as old as civilization, but bio terrorism and black biology is an emerging threat to world peace.

15 + 3 =