An exciting new spy thriller series is unleashed on the book world and Project Dreamscape cannot get enough! Perfect for the big screen, the trilogy’s plot incorporates the current political and economical issues the world faces today; war, terror, cyber attacks, and more. We interviewed the mastermind behind the thought provoking series, John Henry Bennet. With his latest release, Lies Damn Lies, Bennett divulged his inspirations and thoughts on the controversial subjects of his books.
Tell us the premise for Lies Damn Lies, and a bit about the first two books of the trilogy.
If I may, I’ll take the first book PIGS which was based on a fact. On the 11th December 2005 the largest single explosion occurred on mainland Britain since World War II, namely the aviation fuel depot in Buncefield that serves London Heathrow and London Gatwick plus some other smaller airports.
The official reaction after a year’s investigation was that it was caused by overfilling and an electrical fault, followed by very modest fines to the oil companies involved.
I took the other view. It had been a terrorist attack.
The story involves the security agencies MI5, MI6, UK government ministers, relations with the CIA, French DGSE, Israeli Mossad, etc with a central character being a middle ranking MI6 officer, Baxter.
PORKIES, the second book continues the further activities of Baxter now based in the UK embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, involved with internal struggles with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office First Secretary, and strategic operations against Russian intelligence agencies SVR and the GRU.
Action takes place across Lebanon, Syria, and Israel involving Hezbollah, whilst in London a new Director General is appointed in MI6 creating internal stresses on structure and operations.
With LIES DAMN LIES, Baxter is now back in the UK, assigned to combat the efforts of Chinese Intelligence MSS agents and Russian SVR/GRU infiltrating UK government departments and major economic players, whilst at the same time Energy and Airline networks are being hacked by Chinese MSS causing chaos in major cities and airports. CIA relations with Baxter continue, and one interesting true fact is that in 2006 there were over 35000 discoverable attempted hacks by the Chinese into the US State Department in Washington. Baxter eventually decides, for certain personal reasons, to leave MI6, but realizes this is the only life he knows and joins an Anglo-US company involved in world-wide, political, commercial, and strategic intelligence gathering.
Obviously very truncated, but there are very clear threads running through the trilogy leading from book to book.
PIGS is an oil industry name for a piece of equipment that is placed in a pipeline to separate, for example, different grades of petrol or aviation fuel as they are pumped down a pipeline. These ‘Pigs’ are the diameter of the pipeline and can vary from 4” to 48” in diameter and any length up to 36” and longer. In a PIG one could obviously place an explosive charge with timer; result chaos.
Therefore, for the final book I thought, ‘why not be crystal clear about the intelligence world and politicians?’ Hence LIES DAMN LIES!
You take the reader into the depths of espionage that is a mix of fact and fiction, can you talk about some of the provocative questions your books raise?
I suppose that in essence I want to draw people’s attention to the fact that we are in a continuous ‘war’; not of the conventional kind, but that the outcomes could be just as devastating for the free world. Cyber, political, external interference, hacking and attempted control of prime energy resources and distribution, banking, airlines, commercial operations, communication networks, you name them. All are under infiltration and attack.
The other related area is one of conventional defense resources, dependent on UK government funding which has been significantly cut back over the years. This must be reversed.
Your books are fast-paced and the writing is exciting and really pulls the reader in. Can you talk about your writing style and what you want the reader to get out of it?
Firstly, to enjoy the experience of the book, the characters and the narrative!
I felt with the particular style I use, with very clear timelines, the reader can then, perhaps, more clearly understand some of the pressures of that unpublicised world.
Secondly, perhaps to consider some of the real implications of the narrative, the pros and cons of what countries and governments are doing on a 24-hour basis, and the implications for the man in the street.
Who should read your books?
Anybody interested in this particular genre, and I have found that it is not only a male readership that enjoys them; female reviews have indicated enjoyment from reading them and the relationship thread that Baxter develops with a Mossad agent.
They seem to be made for the big screen or a television series, any plan to take your books to the screen?
I would love for them to be adapted and scripted for the screen, small or large, and there was some initial discussion in London concerning an option. However, the option agreement wanted to include all three books, although only the first had been written, so I decided to defer any decision as to what I would do until the trilogy was completed.
Now I am open to any discussions in this area!
What is next on the horizon, what else are you working on?
Book four is in my head, working title NEW STROKES, and is all of ten pages at present!
However, Baxter is moving into new fields and will have to adapt to the new challenges, both operational and political.
The real challenge for me is to get an agent; I do not have one either in the UK or the USA. If any of the plans are to move forward then an agent is vital to guide and assist me. I hope someone out there feels that my books have potential for a wider distribution and possible options for TV or film.
Lies Damn Lies, Porkies and Pigs are now available on Amazon