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.

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