The Russians, Chinese and Americans are planning to control satellites. The French program secret additional functions to a satellite. The Italians are working for a number of Gulf States to include secret interception facilities.
The Russians know about the French plans, so do the British. Secret files are hacked from some US military systems.
François Duhamel investigates for the DGSE. CIA agent Bruce Waller flies to Paris. Sir Charles Beresford of MI6 has to work out why the President of the US thinks there is a British double agent. The three friends work together for their mutual benefit.
The British think Michael Cocke is responsible. The Turks buy intelligence from him. They believe he has double-crossed them.
The Russians obtain a copy of American agents in Russia, and the British discover a list of Russian agents in the Middle East. The Indians obtain a Chinese document they give to MI6.
As the problems are resolved, Michael Cocke’s life is expendable. The Turks hand him over to the Russians; the Americans and Russians have time to get their officers out; the Chinese agree not to attack the British in exchange for the return of the secret document; the French avoid a collapse of the government.
A new type of autocratic politician dominates the political landscape.
With the deliberate appointment by the Prime Minister of an unsuitable candidate for the top job of C in MI6, trouble begins. The new man sweeps people out. Most of them die by accident or suicide.
Sir Charles, a loyal subject and member of a family that has been part of the ruling elite for generations, knows he will be next. He and his colleagues from Australia, France, and the United States of America have to find out why they are being attacked. They must meet the challenge; failure will mean certain death.
Caught up in the maelstrom facing the security services of the western world, the plans of a crook go drastically awry when one of his political contacts dies in a young man’s bed. The international threads of business intertwine with the greed of politicians as a few loyal officers save the Service. Love blossoms between those caught up in the business, and in a small house outside Marrakesh, Katharine acts to lift the black pain inflicted upon her after the brutal death of her lover in 1973.
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Trying to write unambiguously and with clarity. Expressing emotions as accurately as possible.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
I do not have a favourite character, but if you press me, I can say that Elizabeth Bottreaux in The First Law of Fate is some woman. She edged her way into the novel towards the end, in Paris. Where else? She is an intelligent human being with a free spirit. She is her own woman. You do not tell her what to do.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Thoughts of a cool Chablis in the summer, or a single highland malt or armagnac when the fire crackles during the winter. Not eating, drinking or listening to music when writing enhances the pleasures when you stop for the day.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Being too serious? Concentrating too much? Thinking about that piece of chocolate with morning coffee? If silence is a bad habit, then so be it, but I can and do write on railway trains, aircraft and in cafés.
How did you research your book?
I collect bits of paper: torn from newspapers, magazines, leaflets; reading around the topic, always reading – then planting the paper on the top of the pile, watching it swell in size, only to exhume the entire heap of titbits when the time comes to work out the plot. Hours are then spent looking through, taking, discarding, making notes. (Do you want to have a photograph of the next pile?) Asking knowledgeable people about technical points.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I have to work out the plot before beginning to write. By having a plot (which can change), the writing comes naturally.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
It has to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Charles Dodgson created the world in all its hypocrisy, but unlike the real world, those that deceive, or claim the right to political leadership, are found out. This does not occur often enough in the real world.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Philip Marlowe from The Long Good-Bye by Raymond Chandler. Mr Marlowe knows how to make long coffee – by using a Cona coffee maker. Of course, Italian espresso is something else, as is Turkish coffee and Yemeni coffee. I’d like to discuss Aram Khachaturian’s Concerto for violin and orchestra with him. He doesn’t think it’s up to much. I’d like to persuade him otherwise.