What if Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian FSB officer allegedly murdered by polonium 210 poisoning in London in 2006 on the orders of Moscow, wasn’t the intended – or only target?
As with all my books, whether this, the Harry Tate spy series, the Inspector Lucas Rocco police series (set in France in the 1960s), or the Gavin & Palmer series set in London, I like to use real events as a jumping-off point for the storyline.
For EXECUTION, I had picked up on recently renewed demands by Litvinenko’s family for a detailed investigation into his murder, and proof that it was the FSB and Moscow involved. I found myself thinking about what might have happened if it turned out that Litvinenko wasn’t the only victim to be targeted.
With this the 5th book in the story of former MI5 (the equivalent of the FBI) officer, Harry Tate, now working as a private security consultant, I decided to bring back former MI6 officer, Clare Jardine, who had been shot while saving Harry’s life (in ‘Deception’), and was now lying in a trauma unit in London. In a nearby room is a newly-admitted patient, also a survivor of gunshot wounds, who keeps shouting in Russian. None of the staff can understand him, but Clare, a former deep-cover operative for MI6 (SIS), does.
At first she thinks he’s crazy, and it is only when two men arrive in the middle of the night and go to the man’s room that she hears them talking and realises they are also Russian. And they’ve come here with one purpose in mind: to kill the man… and anybody else they think might be a witness to the event.
Clare has no option but to go on the run. Weakened by her wound, without friends or resources, she cannot trust the establishment, having murdered the MI6 chief who tried to have her terminated along with Harry Tate and others (‘Red Station’), but her instinct is to survive, no matter what, and stay out of the reach of the Russian hit team.
Harry Tate soon gets involved, as he owes Clare a debt of honour. Yet how can he help her when she, an expert at working under cover, won’t show herself?
The Russian team soon close in on Clare in a deadly chase across London and Vienna, and Harry decides on extreme action. But they aren’t the only problem he has to contend with; an old adversary has also teamed up with the Russians, somebody who would love to see both Harry and Clare Jardine silenced for good. And this adversary knows all there is to know about the way Harry works, thinks… and acts.
It’s a fight to the death where not even the hit team are as protected as they think.
Adrian Magson is the author of 13 crime/thriller novels and many short stories and articles. His latest novels are EXECUTION (Severn House – May 2013), 4th in the Harry Tate spy series, and DEATH ON THE PONT NOIR (Allison &Busby), 3rd in the Inspector Lucas Rocco series. A regular reviewer for SHOTS MAGAZINE, he writes the ‘Beginners’ and ‘New Author’ pages for WRITING MAGAZINE, and is the author of WRITE ON! – THE WRITER’S HELP BOOK (Accent Press).
To learn more about Adrian, please visit his website.