By George Ebey
Author Nina Croft’s latest novel, THE DESCARTES LEGACY, blends science with thrills to bring you one of her most harrowing stories yet.
Lucas Grafton has spent the last ten years hunting the Conclave, a secret organization who took everything from him, his wife, his child, his very identity. Now he has a lead—an imminent terrorist attack on London—codenamed Descartes.
Born with a genetic illness, Jenna Young has always known she is different. Then the unexpected death of her father catapults her into a world of murder and terrorism. To stay alive, she must solve a twenty-five year old mystery—her only ally, a hard bitter man in search of retribution, her only clue—Descartes.
When Luke’s need for revenge collides with Jenna’s hunt for the past, together they must stand against the Conclave, and in doing so uncover the truth behind Jenna’s illness. A truth that will make Jenna question her very humanity.
I recently caught up with Nina to learn more about what she has in store for readers of THE DESCARTES LEGACY.
Your book is a thriller with science at its core. How did you approach blending both themes into one story?
I think thrillers and science blend together naturally. Advances in science, whether in medicine, bio-weapons, cloning or whatever can be a great source of suspense and conflict for a story and this is definitely the case with THE DESCARTES LEGACY. The book also has a hint of science-fiction, which means I had limitless possibilities. Once I’d decided on the central idea, then the hardest thing was deciding which of those possibilities to go with.
Tell us about your characters Lucas Grafton and Jenna Young. What aspects of their lives make them interesting catalysts for this story?
Lucas Grafton is a man looking for revenge, but also for justice. Through no actions of his own, his family became involved with the Conclave, a secretive organisation, which has infiltrated the world’s power bases. Lucas escaped an assassination attempt, which left his wife and baby daughter dead. He took up a new identity and has been hunting the Conclave for the last ten years. Now he’s close.
Jenna is a mystery. She is somehow tied to the Conclave but neither she nor Lucas can work out the connection. Jenna has lived all her life with the knowledge that she has an incurable disease. While she appears perfect on the outside, she feels she’s irreversibly flawed on the inside. Then her father dies and the world as she knows it unravels.
You’ve written books in several other genres. How did your work on those books prepare you to take on the challenges of this book?
I’m a big believer that you should write the sort of things you love to read, which doesn’t narrow the field for me very much as I read most genres. And that means I want to write most genres as well.
I’ve mainly written romance before, contemporary, paranormal, sci-fi, but often with a lot of action, so THE DESCARTES LEGACY wasn’t a completely new experience for me.
I think the main way to improve the way you write is by actually writing. And the only way to find your unique voice and what you enjoy is to try different things. So all the books I’ve written before have helped me refine my writing and find my strengths.
The title references the Descartes Highlands, an area on the moon that served as the landing site for the Apollo 16 mission. Did you discover anything interesting about that mission while researching for this book?
I’m terrible at doing research—I tend to get side-tracked very easily and go off on a tangent.But some of the things I remember are:There was actually a choice of the Descartes Highlands or the Alphonsus Crater as the landing site for Apollo 16 – so the book could have ended up, The Alphonsus Legacy.
Apollo 16 was the fifth mission to land on the moon and John Young, the commander, was the ninth person to walk on the moon. His words aren’t as famous as Neil Armstrong’s, but he did say, “There you are: Mysterious and Unknown Descartes. Highland plains. Apollo 16 is gonna change your image.”
The Descartes Highlands were chosen as they wanted rock samples from the area. Analysis of the samples taken showed that the geologic units were made up of debris generated by impact events. Which actually ties in very neatly with my story.
And I might have made one or two things up about the mission…
Do you think that you may return to world of science based thrillers again soon?
I loved writing the book, and I definitely plan to return to the world of THE DESCARTES LEGACY and delve further into the secrets of the Conclave.
Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain.
To learn more about Nina, please visit her website.