Excerpt: THE EXPHORIA CODE by Antony Johnston (Lightning Books)

JohnstonA-BS1-ExphoriaCodeAntony Johnston is perhaps best known as the writer of The Coldest City, the graphic novel that was adapted into the Charlize Theron-starring Atomic Blonde. This week, Lightning Books is due to publish his first novel, The Exphoria Code, which sounds really interesting. The publisher has kindly allowed me to share the first chapter from the book. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

Brigitte Sharp, a cyber-espionage specialist with MI6, has been deskbound and in therapy for three years, after her first field mission in Syria went disastrously wrong. But now one of her best friends has been murdered, and Bridge believes his death is connected to strange posts appearing on the internet, carrying encrypted hidden messages.

When Bridge decodes the messages, she discovers evidence of a mole inside a top-secret Anglo-French military drone project. Her MI6 bosses force her back into the field, sending her undercover in France to find and expose the mole… who may also be her friend’s killer. But the truth behind the Exphoria code is worse than she could have imagined.

Soon she’s on the run, desperate and alone – as a nuclear terrorist plot unfolds and threatens everything Bridge has left to live for.

The Exphoria Code is the first novel in the author’s Brigitte Sharp series. Read on for Chapter 1…

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Quick Reviews: ORDER TO KILL and ENEMY OF THE STATE by Kyle Mills (Atria/Emily Bestler)

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The latest two novels featuring Mitch Rapp, the CIA super-spy and assassin created by Vince Flynn. I’ve read all of the books in the series, and it remains one of my favourites. These are Mills’s second and third instalments, following The Survivor (which he finished following Flynn’s passing). Both novels show the author becoming ever-more comfortable with the character, developing him, his colleagues, and returning antagonists brilliantly. The series is in very safe hands. I really enjoyed both of these novels.

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Books on Film: RED SPARROW by Jason Matthews

In March of next year, Jennifer Lawrence will star in Red Sparrow, the movie based on Jason Matthew‘s first Dominika Egorova series. The movie is directed by Francis Lawrence (no relation to the star, but also worked with her on Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay I II), and the screenplay is by Justin Haythe. Joel Edgerton and Mary-Louise Parker also star.

Here’s the book’s synopsis:

State intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s most valuable mole in Moscow. Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fateful double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington; hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the US military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.

Red Sparrow is published by Scribner (North America) and Simon & Schuster (UK). At the time of writing, it is also on sale for Kindle in the US and UK. The second novel in the series, The Palace of Treason (US/UK), is also available. The third novel, The Kremlin’s Candidate, is due out in February 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads

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Quick Review: THE SURVIVOR by Vince Flynn & Kyle Mills (Atria/Simon & Schuster)

Flynn&Mills-MR12-SurvivorUSThe 14th Mitch Rapp novel, Flynn’s last

When Joe “Rick” Rickman, a former golden boy of the CIA, steals a massive amount of the Agency’s most classified documents in an elaborately masterminded betrayal of his country, CIA director Irene Kennedy has no choice but to send her most dangerous weapon after him: elite covert operative Mitch Rapp.

Rapp quickly dispatches the traitor, but Rickman proves to be a deadly threat to America even from beyond the grave. Eliminating Rickman didn’t solve all of the CIA’s problems — in fact, mysterious tip-offs are appearing all over the world, linking to the potentially devastating data that Rickman managed to store somewhere only he knew.

It’s a deadly race to the finish as both the Pakistanis and the Americans search desperately for Rickman’s accomplices, and for the confidential documents they are slowly leaking to the world. To save his country from being held hostage to a country set on becoming the world’s newest nuclear superpower, Mitch Rapp must outrun, outthink, and outgun his deadliest enemies yet.

Vince Flynn passed away after beginning this novel. His estate and publisher asked Kyle Mills, another fantastic thriller author, to step in and finish the book. I’ve read all of Flynn’s novels, and I’m happy to report that Mills has done a great job of continuing the series. Continue reading

Interview with GAIE SEBOLD

SeboldG-AuthorPicWelcome back to CR! Let’s start with an introduction, for new readers: Who is Gaie Sebold?

I’m a fantasy writer and (very) occasional poet, with a partner (writer David Gullen) a small cat, and a large garden. I run writing workshops – I’m currently running a series of them for my local women’s centre. I occasionally disconcert the neighbours by plotting aloud to myself while weeding.

Your next novel, Sparrow Falling, will be published by Solaris. It’s the second novel in your latest series: How would you introduce the series to a potential reader?

It follows the adventures of a street child and professional con-artist Eveline Sparrow, in a fantasy Victorian era where the Fey and many other mythical beings exist. Eveline gets caught up in events where the politics of our world overlap dangerously with those of the Fey while discovering the truth about her past and trying to protect herself and those she cares about in the present. Continue reading

Excerpt: NOMAD by James Swallow (Zaffre)

SwallowJ-NomadJames Swallow‘s latest novel, Nomad, was recently published in the UK by Zaffre. To celebrate it’s release, the publisher has allowed me to share with CR readers the first chapter. First, though, here’s the synopsis:

Marc Dane is an MI6 field agent at home behind a computer screen, one step away from the action. But when a brutal attack on his team leaves Marc as the only survivor — and with the shocking knowledge that there are traitors inside MI6 — he’s forced into the front line.

However the evidence seems to point towards Marc as the perpetrator of the attack. Accused of betraying his country, he must race against time to clear his name.

With nowhere to turn to for help and no one left to trust, Marc is forced to rely on the elusive Rubicon group and their operative Lucy Keyes. Ex US Army, Lucy also knows what it’s like to be an outsider, and she’s got the skills that Marc is sorely lacking.

A terrorist attack is coming, one bigger and more deadly than has ever been seen before. With the eyes of the security establishment elsewhere, only Lucy and Marc can stop the attack before it’s too late.

Read on for the excerpt… Continue reading

Upcoming: EUROPE IN WINTER by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)

HutchinsonD-3-EuropeInWinterDave Hutchinson‘s third Europe novel is out this November! Due to be published by Solaris, Europe in Winter follows the critically-acclaimed, award-nominated Europe in Autumn and Europe at Midnight. Here’s the skinny:

A fractured Europe. A parallel world. A global threat.

Union has come. The Community is now the largest nation in Europe; trains run there from as far afield as London and Prague. It is an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

So what is the reason for a huge terrorist outrage? Why do the Community and Europe meet in secret, exchanging hostages? And who are Les Coureurs des Bois?

Along with a motley crew of strays and mafiosi and sleeper agents, Rudi sets out to answer these questions – only to discover that the truth lies both closer to home and farther away than anyone could possibly imagine.

Really looking forward to this. I need to do a binge-catch-up first, though — something I think I’ll try to do in April. I’ve heard only great things about the series.

For more on Hutchinson’s novels and writing, check out the author’s website, and follow him on Goodreads and Twitter.

Also on CR: Interview with Dave Hutchinson

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