Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Post Cold War Trilogy Background

By Chester Campbell

When I first wrote my post Cold War political thriller trilogy back in the early nineties, I had a character who, as a young man, had been led off course by a charismatic leader who then rejected him as a failure. I wanted to show how his courage and determination overcame the stigma of that experience and allowed him to regain his self-respect. It had to play out against the backdrop of tensions that remained in the aftermath of the Cold War.

For years I had devoured Cold War spy stories like a chocoholic with a plate of brownies. I supplemented my novel reading with a steady supply of books on the KGB, the CIA, and figures like the famous British-born Soviet spy, Kim Philby. By the time I took up novel writing, I was well-versed in the field of espionage. I also kept up with events in the Soviet Union and what occurred when it was dissolved and the Commonwealth of Independent States came into being.

The central character, Burke Hill, faces one crisis after another in Beware the Jabberwock, the first book in the trilogy. A former FBI agent, he has the moxie to tangle with rogue elements on both sides of the old Iron Curtain. Rather than have him battle the odds alone, however, I created a sharp, talented, independent young woman to share the journey, his old CIA pal's daughter, Lorelei Quinn. She provides additional incentive for Burke when the bad guys target her as a way of getting to him.

The second book, The Poksu Conspiracy, finds Burke working as director of clandestine activities for a PR firm that's a CIA spinoff. I continued to develop his character as a tough, uncompromising intelligence agent. Lori Quinn, now Mrs. Burke Hill, remains in the background, pregnant with twins. As with the first book, I spent almost as much effort creating the bad guys as I did the good ones. I gave them full backgrounds and valid reasons for acting as they did.

When it came to book three, Overture to Disaster, I had a different idea. Instead of starting the story with Burke Hill, I came up with two widely different characters on opposite sides of the world, both tormented by painful experiences from the past. I used my Air Force background and a lot of additional research to create Special Operations helicopter pilot Col. Roddy Rodman. His counterpart in the east was Chief Investigator Yuri Shumakov with the Minsk, Belarus city prosecutor.

Rodman was court-martialed for an error that resulted in his helicopter being shot down over Iran, with everyone aboard killed except the two pilots. While working to learn how his brother, a Soviet Army captain, was killed, Shumakov is falsely accused of murder. The two characters' paths cross in Mexico where they discover they're both looking for the same person. That's where Burke Hill comes into the picture as he joins forces with the other two men.

If you're a fan of conspiracy theories, you'll love Overture. Behind the plot is a shadowy group of international bankers and corporate socialists. It will be out as an ebook on Amazon in a couple of weeks.

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June Shaw said...

Chester, make sure you let us know once it's out.

Chester Campbell said...

Will do, June.