Today on Love Books Group we have a review of The Silk Road by Mark Leggatt and also we managed to have a natter with Mark too. So two exclusive features for you to enjoy.
Third in the Connor Montrose series by Mark Leggatt, following on from the success of Names of the Dead and The London Cage.
Ex-CIA technician Connor Montrose tracks two suspected terrorists to a deserted mountain village in Tuscany, where he witnesses an attack on a US Air Force troop plane, using a ground-breaking portable Surface to Air (SAM) missile. Unaware that the CIA were also monitoring the suspects, Montrose is blamed for the attack and narrowly escapes. The CIA receive orders from Washington to shoot him on sight, and a shadowy organisation begins to track his every move.
Then a spate of terror attacks threatens the fabric of NATO and the entire Western alliance. Civilian airlines are the new target, and the overwhelming evidence points to a CIA false flag plan to bring down aircraft and blame it on Moscow-backed terrorists. Montrose’s investigations lead him to underground arms sales on The Silk Road, the secret marketplace of the internet, hidden deep in the Dark Web. Montrose must assimilate himself into the society of the European aristocracy and the ultra-rich fascists, assisted by Kirsty Rhys, to pose as a middleman for the purchase of arms on The Silk Road and find the remaining cache of missiles. Montrose uncovers the layers of duplicity between governments and arms dealers, leading first to the CIA in Rome, and eventually to the palaces of the last Russia Tsar and the new oligarchs. Montrose must discover the remaining cache of missiles before the CIA catch up with him and before carnage is unleashed over the skies of Europe.
Mark Leggatt was born in Lochee, Dundee and lives in Edinburgh. A former specialist in Disaster Recovery for oil companies and global banks, his career has taken him around Europe, especially Paris, where he lived for a number of years. History and modern global conspiracy lie at the heart of his work, and are the backdrop for the adventures of CIA technician Connor Montrose. Leggatt is a member of the Crime Writers Association in the UK, and the International Thriller Writers in the USA.
Told from varying points of view, the Silk Road begins with action and doesn’t slow down until the very last word. As my first foray into this series, I wondered if I’d be confused with not having read the first two. Not at all. As soon as I started the first page, I couldn’t put it down. The action and pacing thrust the reader into a whirlwind on a roller coaster, where essentials of plot and character are quickly realized. Take, for example, this opening scene:
He peered over his shoulder to make sure the exit was clear. If he was trapped in the tower, he was a dead man. Keeping to the wall, he shoved his way past the crumbling remains of the wooden pews, then edged towards the door. He pulled the pistol from the holster and knelt just inside the doorway, then glanced down the street. It was clear, but he knew they were close.
Immediately I’m asking myself what’s going on, why are people after him. Is he good or bad? Where is he? It’s a kaleidoscope for my brain.
The Silk Road takes us through Europe as Connor Montrose finds himself from one precarious situation to the next. How he escapes is beyond me and I am constantly wondering what else is in store for this man. Ex-CIA, and pretty much wanted by every secret service organization throughout the world, Montrose is actually a good guy. Though he tries to intercede by thwarting attacks on innocents, he often gets blamed for the actions of other “evil” masterminds.
For this third installation, one of the supposed good guys turns out to be immoral, to say the least. We know there’s an illegal sale of missiles and Connor along with his partner Kirsty, a badass operative and former military soldier, race to uncover the location of this illegal sale on the Silk Road.
We know duplicity at multiple levels of government are happening. But not until the end, do we find out who is behind the illegal sales. Honest, the book reads like an action movie. I liken it to the Jason Bourne series or the Mission Impossible Series.
As I’m not an expert on world espionage, I cannot write to the accuracy of the storyline. But I can tell you it all seems possible and most importantly, the plot is highly entertaining.
By Tanya Kaanta for Love Books Group
What book from your childhood still has a place in your heart today?
Gormenghast, by Mervyn Peake. It was a revelation. I remember the day, standing in the playground, the copy of Gormenghast in my hand. Everyone else was reading Lord of the Rings. Frankly, I never took to Hobbits. I was cheering for the Orcs. But I left them all behind when I opened the pages and wandered into the endless sea of stone that was Castle Groan. I had no idea that books could be so outrageous, so dazzling and terrifying in their imagination. It was a life-changing moment when doors in my mind opened to infinite joy and immeasurable despair.
Which fictional character stayed with you long after you finished the book?
Sir Harry Paget Flashman, VC, KCB, KCIE. He forms the basis for all the baddies in my book. He is, according to those who knew him, a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat, a thief, and a coward. I’d go for a pint with him anytime.
Can you tell us a little about your journey with your new release?
It was a difficult journey at first, as I wanted to show how major governments are willing to us false flag atrocities (e.g., commit a terrorist act, then leave evidence that blames it on another country, usually your enemy), but it relied upon the geo-political climate before the election of Trump. Once the Mango Mussolini was in office, it was difficult to write a plot involving Moscow and Washington, that didn’t reference a fake-tanned, self-confessed sex offender in the White House with his strings being pulled by Putin. I had to reshape the book several times, as truth is stranger than fiction.
Do you get an emotional connection to your character’s?
There is a strong emotional connection to the character when I am writing that character, but that doesn’t stay with me when I put down the pencil. It is fiction, after all.
Can you please, share a photo with us that tells a story.
When I’m in the middle of a book, I sometimes get the best lines in the middle of the night, and if you don’t write them down, they disappear faster than snow in the Sahara. This is tricky, as I don’t want to wake my other half, so I type them on my iPhone under the covers. However, one night when she was away, I put the light on to write them down. I forgot the dog was sleeping beside me. His WTF? expression says it all. It’s all part of the writing process and the necessary obsession to writing a book. MacWuff the Cairn Terrier, is not convinced.
What was your favourite read of 2017?
Doug Skelton’s “The Janus Run”
If your book came with a theme song what would it be?
The Benny Hill theme tune played by Motorhead.
Is the genre you write your favourite to read?
Yes, I’ve always loved a thriller!
If you could ask your readers anything, what would you want to know?
Do you really want the good guys to win?
What are you working on now?
A Scottish psychological crime novel, where my main character, Hector Lawless, is forced to examine the reasons for committing murder, and whether or not he is justified in doing so. As the reasons become clearer and urgent, Hector has a difficult choice to make.
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Thanks to the publisher for my free copy of the book, given in exchange for participation in the book blog tour and for an honest review.