For Albert Ashforth the impetus for setting THE RENDITION in Kosovo dates back to 1389. The 1400s is not exactly the time frame one would expect for a novel set in 2008, yet history backs up Al’s assertion on the importance of this date.
In the that year, 1389, Kosovo lost it’s freedom as a nation and became part of the Ottoman Empire. Eventually the Ottomans lost control of the Balkan part and ceded Kosovo to Serbia. Serbia and Kosovo differ culturally and the relationship was never easy. Then as Yugoslavia began to fall apart, Kosovars began to realize their 600-year-old dream of independence. Kosovo was recognized as an independent nation in February 2008. And it is here in these tumultuous times we find THE RENDITION.
In addition to the history he learned as an instructor and military contractor in the Balkan region, Al did “quite a bit of research” for THE RENDITION. This included help from well-versed companions who shared their perceptions and understanding of this part of the world. “As we traveled around,” Al said, “I was able to acquire enormous first-hand knowledge of what Kosovo and its people were like.”
At the heart of THE RENDITION is Alex Klear – an experienced operative who is used to conducting black ops. After a poorly planned rendition goes so bad Alex ends up the prisoner, he retires – or at least tries to. He ends up traveling to Germany to participate in an operation connected to the rendition.
In Alex we find a man who is committed to helping his country and who knows full well the dangers he faces and the likelihood of his possible death. Yet, for a man of his talents he has a reflective side – one that hungers for a more normal way of life. As a result Al has given Alex two very different women as foils. One is his boss for the operation and who is driven by her career; the other is Alex’s lost love, a woman he realizes he has loved and will probably always love, who is a policewoman working cases his undercover operation has caused.
Al believes that what surprised him the most in writing THE RENDITION was Alex’s involvement with these two dynamic women. One he understands – her career comes first and if necessary she will let Alex be the fall guy. The other he doesn’t understand and to his credit he knows he never will.
So in THE RENDITION we have a love story, a history lesson or two, a black ops guidebook, and a thriller – what more could you ask for?
Will Alex appear in another novel? Al is a little cagey in his reply: “It’s a fact that once our intelligence agencies have trained someone they are reluctant to let that person retire. In the business, dependable people are hard to find. For that reason, I have an idea that Alex, now that he is unretired, is going to keep working for a while.” Then he adds, “It is very difficult these days to get people to go to Afghanistan, and there’s a chance someone may talk him into going out there.”
In addition to THE RENDITION, Al written a mystery, MURDER AFTER THE FACT and a biography, THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY.
After serving overseas in the US Army, Albert Ashforth graduated from Brooklyn College. He worked for two New York City newspapers, was an instructor for the University of Maryland’s Overseas Program, trained NATO officers at the German Military Academy and served as an instructor at 10th Group Special Forces headquarters in Europe. As a military contractor, he has done tours in Bosnia, Macedonia, Germany, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Mr. Ashforth is now on the faculty of the State University of New York.
To learn more about Albert, please visit his website.