Arctic Inferno, the sequel to Arctic Meltdown, is a timely and gripping international environmental thriller set against the background of the devastation of climate change and the melting of the polar ice cap. The heroine, Hanne Kristensen, the beautiful Danish geologist appointed Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources for the newly independent Greenland, has to maneuver through a wave of setbacks to foil both a Chinese attempt to control Greenland’s natural resources and a more aggressive Russian attempt to gain hegemony over the sparsely populated fledgling country as well as to save her friend, the ousted Premier of Russia, Pavel Laptov. Her suitor, Canadian diplomat Richard Simpson, aids her in this process as well as in the design and signing of a new and more environmentally focused Arctic Treaty to save the region from complete environmental catastrophe. But at the same time Hanne’s private life is complicated by this relationship, as she has to choose between Richard and her long-time lover and childhood friend, Kristi Olafson. This is an action-packed novel with lots of twists and turns guaranteed to keep the reader at the edge of their seats, but also one that brings home the realities we could be living in the very near future.
Geza Tatrallyay recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, ARTIC INFERNO.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
I have always been concerned about what was happening in the Arctic as a result of climate change. I traveled to Greenland in 2011 to do some research fo r the two books, and already then found the main hotel in Nook full of Chinese seeking to obtain leases for oil and gas or mineral rights. I have been following the military buildup by Putin in the Russian Arctic ever since and have tried to bring attention to these developments through my writing and speaking.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
This is such an important topic and so little focus has been put on it, that I knew as soon as I started the first of the two books that I would spend whatever time was required on them.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Borgen Season Four is reflective of some of the issues, but it came after my first novel was out.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
A gorgeous, bisexual and intelligent Danish geologist who becomes the Minister of Natural Resources for a newly independent Greenland is a unique character indeed in fiction.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
Concern for what is happening today in the Arctic. Not only is it warming four times faster than further south, but the melting polar ice cap seems to be giving license to the superpowers to vie for its natural resources and trade routes. In the process much of the environment there is being, or will be devastated.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I have just completed the first draft of a murder mystery set largely Vermont, one which also has international political aspects.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Geza escaped with his family in 1956 during the Hungarian Revolution, immigrating to Canada the same year. He grew up in Toronto, attending the University of Toronto Schools, where he was School Captain. He graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Human Ecology in 1972 (after taking a break in his studies to work as a host in the Ontario Pavilion at Expo’70 in Osaka, Japan). Geza was selected as a Rhodes Scholar from Ontario, attending Oxford University and graduating with a BA/MA in Human Sciences in 1974; he completed his studies with a MSc in Economics from London School of Economics and Politics in 1975. Geza represented Canada as an epée fencer in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
Geza’s professional experience has included stints in government, international organizations, finance and environmental entrepreneurship. Since 2004, he has been semi-retired, managing a few investments mainly in the clean energy sector and devoting himself to his family and his writing. He is an author and a poet, with fifteen books published (five thrillers, five poetry collections, three memoirs, a short story collection and a children’s picture story book). and another poetry volume, Arctic Inferno , the sequel to Arctic Meltdown is Geza’s sixth thriller, and he also has a murder mystery novel on the way. His poems, short stories and articles have appeared in journals, magazines and anthologies in Canada and the USA. Geza is a citizen of Canada and Hungary, and currently divides his time between Barnard, Vermont, and San Francisco. He is married to Marcia, and their daughter, Alexandra, lives in San Francisco with husband David, and two sons, Sebastian and Orlando, while their son, Nicholas, lives in Nairobi with his Hungarian wife, Fanni, and his granddaughters, Sophia and Lara.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.