By J. H. Bográn
After the success of Crossing Savage and Relentless Savage, comes the third book by Dave Edlund, DEADLY SAVAGE. This time Peter Savage finds himself in peril when militants invade the Belarusian State University in Minsk. Held hostage by gunmen who look like Russian soldiers, Peter uncovers a plot to kill thousands of innocent civilians—and lay the blame on the United States. In a desperate attempt to avoid a global war, Commander James Nicolaou and Peter are called to the front lines, and the stakes have never been higher.
DEADLY SAVAGE brings the now familiar globe-trotting adventures, the high-octane plots, and plenty of action in a novel that as Gary Scout says, “…will leave you breathless, and worried, because it just might happen.” And Kirkus Reviews seems to agree: “Crackling action, brisk pace, timely topic; Edlund’s third Savage thriller has all the elements…”
The Big Thrill welcomes Mr. Edlund, who agreed to answer a few questions for our readers.
What prompted the story of DEADLY SAVAGE?
A couple years ago, as tensions surrounding militias and Russian political activities in Eastern Europe were heating up, my editor challenged me to write a novel that would be based in Europe and involve a military conflict between Russia and the U.S. She was asking for a Tom-Clancy-like novel. I had to decline that approach—I’m not up for competing on that playing field—but I did think there would be a way to adapt the concept to a Peter Savage novel. DEADLY SAVAGE evolved from that challenge.
What can the fans of the series expect in this adventure?
I think fans will recognize that Peter has matured in his approach to life-and-death threats. After all, he’s had more than his share of tense situations and deadly encounters. This time, Peter has to be very resourceful and ruthless as he is pitted against a well-armed militia that has taken control of the Belarusian State University. There is a lot of action, as should be expected. And, in keeping with the challenge from my editor, there is a military engagement between the U.S. and Russian forces.
What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?
There was a lot of research! Much around the location, Minsk—I have a friend who studied at the Belarusian State University. Plus, the recent history of local conflicts, that many in the West believe were fueled by a desire of Russia to regain the boundaries of the former USSR.
There was also a lot of research into bioweapons—current status, past activities to develop weapons (very scary stuff), and the history of vaccinations aimed at wiping out some of these deadly diseases. Finally, the military tactics that would likely be employed by the U.S. if engaged in a regional European conflict required research. Aircraft, weaponry, troops, and tactics all had to be studied and evaluated to bring a credible story to life.
What is the most frightening thing you learned about while researching a novel?
Viruses. Biological agents that have been developed—optimized—for killing people by the thousands, if not millions. The U.S. and Russia have experimented with such nasty agents as anthrax, Spanish influenza, smallpox, Ebola and Marburg, learning how to mass-produce and weaponized these agents. Supposedly, that research has ended, but governments continue to insist on the necessity to maintain samples of these deadly biological agents.
For many of these viruses and bacteria there is no cure, only treatment of the symptoms—but mortality rates can easily top 20% and, with some strains of smallpox and Ebola, top 80%. If we have agreed to not deploy biological weapons, why do we require viable samples?
Would people starting on this book have any trouble catching up with the series?
Since each book in the Peter Savage series is a standalone story, readers won’t have a problem jumping in at any point. Still, the main characters grow in each novel—meaning that the reader will learn more about the characters from book to book as they reveal themselves, in much the way that real friendships evolve.
How much of your background in chemistry has helped in your writing?
My education and training in science and engineering have profoundly influenced my fiction writing. Crossing Savage, Book #1, has strong elements of chemistry as a major theme, specifically alternative and controversial chemical routes by which oil may be formed naturally. In Deadly Savage, I had the opportunity to release my inner anarchist and fantasize about ways to improvise weapons using materials found in a university chemical storeroom. And there is also a section of the plot where scientific analysis provides critical input to a major decision that can only be made by the President himself. These passages are 100% authentic.
It is very important to me that the science and engineering in my novels be cutting-edge and accurate. At the end of my novels I include a chapter titled Author’s Post Script, but I strongly advise readers to save this for the end. In this section, I go into more detail about the real science and geopolitics that are woven into the fictional plot.
What are you currently working on?
Book #4 is in the editing phase. The plot is anchored to a tragic event from 1967, during the height of the Six-Day War, when combined Israeli air and naval forces attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty.
A free-lance hacker uncovers top-secret files. When they inadvertently land in the possession of Peter Savage, he is targeted by assassins from both sides of the Atlantic. Then he becomes wanted by the FBI and local police, implicated for murders he did not commit. In desperation, he flees to the wilderness with his canine companion, Gator. Unlike the previous Peter Savage sagas, Book #4 is very much a man/dog survival-at-all costs story. My aim was to make this a very personal conflict.
Is there a last thought you´d like to share with our readers?
Yes. I want to thank the fans of Peter Savage for their support and sharing their comments through book reviews and conversations. I became a life-long fan of action-thrillers through the works of Clive Cussler, and later, many great authors including James Rollins, Matthew Reilly, Michael Crichton, Jon Land, and Lincoln Child. My goal is to bring delight to a new generation of action-thriller fans.
Dave Edlund is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a doctoral degree in chemistry. He resides in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, son, and four dogs (Lucy Liu, Diesel, Murphy, and Tenshi). Raised in the California Central Valley, he completed his undergraduate studies at California State University, Sacramento. In addition to authoring several technical articles and books on alternative energy, Edlund is an inventor on 101 U.S. patents. An avid outdoorsman and shooter, he has hunted across North America, and he has traveled extensively throughout China, Japan, and Europe. A member of the International Thriller Writers, his debut action/political-thriller Crossing Savage received the 2015 Ben Franklin Silver Medal for Popular Fiction, and was a 2015 INDIEFAB finalist for Best Suspense/Thriller. Deadly Savage, the third novel in the Peter Savage series, will be released in May 2016. Edlund is the Founder & CEO of an alternative energy company, and he serves on the Central Oregon Writers Guild Board of Directors.
To learn more about Dave, please visit his website.