The Alex Swan Mysteries came about completely by accident when I was writing a factual article on the ill-fated BAC TSR2 strike aircraft programme of the mid-1960s for an aviation magazine. It was while I was researching the subject that I discovered a well of intrigue and political controversy as to why this state-of-the-art warplane was suddenly cancelled. The more I read about it, the more it began to play out like a classic spy-thriller. Being a fan of spy novelists such as John Le Carre, Len Deighton, Frederick Forsyth and Ian Fleming, I decided to write the Alex Swan Mysteries, with the first novel, Wings of Death, based on the TSR 2 affair with the added ingredient of the clandestine world of Cold War espionage.
Since then, I have really enjoyed writing this ongoing series featuring Ministry of Defence troubleshooters, Alex Swan and Arthur Gable, and centring their investigations on actual historic events. My aim is to give my readers a sense of nostalgia and reflection to the works of those aforementioned Cold War thriller writers and others, and I am so very excited as a relatively new author to see these first three Alex Swan Mystery novels now available as a boxed-set. My continuing voyage with Endeavour Media has enabled my stories to be recognised not only just in the Amazon bestseller lists, but has also engineered talks at literature festivals, international podcast interviews, and features in writing magazines, which tells me that the Cold War has still a lot of interest in the literary world.
The final instalment: Island of Fear
I would like to say that this story was inspired by my visits to Cyprus over the past few years, as I was intrigued to see the country divided into the two parts and when walking near the border crossings and the UN Buffer Zone, how reminiscent this all was to when I was in a divided Berlin during the Cold War. The abandoned Nicosia International Airport, where some of the novel’s scenes are set, has to be seen to be believed! You literally walk into a time warp to see the old airliners, departure lounge, and derelict buildings just sitting there as if time had stood still for the place in the summer of 1974. Even an old wreck of an RAF Shackleton aircraft lies decaying out at the airport’s perimeter. This is the machine that helped to inspire the plot for Island of Fear.
The conflict in 1974 certainly brought a change to not only the geography of the island, but also the people. I had been given the opportunity to talk to locals, and hearing their tales of strife and tyranny will always remain embedded in my memory.
From these anecdotes came this novel, and I will always be grateful to the information I was given to help me work these historical facts into this piece of fiction.
Despite the political divide, the island is still a beautiful place to visit with lots of ancient places of interest, beaches, and shopping resorts as well as very friendly people on both sides of the Green Line. They seemed to have accepted this situation and continue with their way of life knowing that, despite the attempts over the years to re-unify the Island, things may never change.
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