The Mission

My first completed (not the first I started) "proper" novel. I spent some time in the parts of the Philippines other authors don't reach and it wasn't very nice. I love the Philippines ( I just love South East Asia in general, to be fair) but there are some seriously dodgy areas in the South East. It was only after I got back, that I realised just how dangerous it had been and why everyone told me I should not go. I did of course. However, not long after I finished The Mission, some of the uber-radical groups went on the rampage and over the next few months took over entire cities which the western media more or less ignored despite the heavy military and air offensive undertaken by the government, leaving a war-torn area that would not have looked out of place in Syria and Afghanistan. What's worse, since the book was written, some of the ultra-radicals have teamed up with refugees from ISIS in Syria. The situation is extremely unstable despite supposed peace deals in place. (March 2019)

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When CIA Director Shirley Walker needed someone who would blend in while searching for "The Armourer," the source of weapons for terrorist groups in Southern Thailand, she chose Paul Johnson. Johnson is a desk-jockey in a boring part of the CIA. Yes, he works at Langley. No, he's not an agent. He reads newspapers for a living and writes reports. The most exciting thing he has ever done was to go to Thailand and end up working in a bar on a beach.

That, Walker thought, makes him the ideal candidate to send on an undercover mission that sounds simple but becomes rapidly more complicated. And the reality is much worse than the expectation. As time passes, questions arise: was the mission ever really what it at first seemed? Johnson is captured, traded between terrorist groups and moved across South East Asia. Unknown to him and the CIA, his cover has been blown by a one of the Agency's "grey suits" who was caught in a honey trap.

As the days, weeks, months and eventually years go by, efforts to locate and rescue Johnson gather no valid information until a chance discussion between a drug dealer and Tus, working undercover on secondment to the DEA. Johnson is medivacced back to the USA where the full horrors of his situation crowd in.

The book explores inter-relationships between terrorist groups. The ending is as unexpected as it is explosive.

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