Saturday, 7 April 2012

Update on "A Dollar for The Ferryman."

Just popping in an update to the novel. In this one, there are two story lines developing. The first concerns the heroine, Stacey, and her adventures as a chopper pilot in Laos, circa 1968.
The second concerns her mother, Charlotte; and is set in Korea, eight years earlier. Charlotte is with the CIA and installed under deep cover as a Soviet Adviser in P'yǒngyang, North Korea, searching for her CIA lover, who was sent into North Korea under deep cover, and has been missing since the early 1950's.

A spin-off from this storyline concerns the whereabouts of the malignant Garnet gemstone named "The Abaddon Stone" that is said to be "A Destroyer of Worlds" and seems to invoke War. It was unleashed on the eve of the Second World War, and has travelled east  trailing death and destruction in its wake. Charlotte's ongoing quest is to seek out this gem and destroy it before it unleashes any further misfortune upon mankind. The two stories are interlaced, and the novel moves from one time frame to the other, and back again.

Here's a taster of Charlotte...

Friday, 16th September, 1960.
P'yǒngyang. North Korea.

    Stacey's mother, Charlotte was sitting at the desk in her office of the T17 sniper academy in P'yǒngyang, grading her latest batch of trainees, when the harsh jangle of the telephone disturbed her concentration. Pushing the thick file aside, she picked up the receiver and spoke.
    "Polkovnik"… Colonel Nadia Tolenkanovna. How may I help you?"
    Charlotte had been placed undercover in the Academy almost two and a half years ago, on the direct orders of Colby, the Chief of Station in Saigon, and Chief of the CIA's Far East Division, who had stipulated that an agent was to be placed in the very heart of North Korea's Military environment. She had accepted this assignment in the hope that she could discover what had happened to her lover, and father of her daughter, Colonel Max Segal, who had been sent into North Korea in the guise of a Soviet Officer in the early stages of the war.
    The voice on the other end of the telephone was apologetic.
    'Nadia? I'm so sorry to have to disturb you, but we have a situation on our hands.'
    It was Viktor Malinovskii, Second secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Somun Street. He had established a relationship with Charlotte some time ago... and occasionally she allowed him to make love to her... but this was merely to manipulate him; and through him, the Embassy, in order to retain a cast-iron cover. He was, after all, fairly attractive; a placid and undemanding lover, and he suited her purpose perfectly.
    She lowered her voice a little.
    'Yes Viktor; how can I be of assistance?'
    His voice was anxious.
    'We have received a report that one of our North Korean associates' MiG fighters was discovered yesterday. It was shot down by the Americans to the south of Toksan on Highway One, almost ten years ago. It seems that the pilot was one of our covert Soviet pilots who were rotated in and out of Manchuria. As you are aware; there has always been a political denial of any such involvement in the Korean conflict.
    This has the potential to create a diplomatic embarrassment for Moscow if the truth ever comes out. The Embassy would like you to travel down there to establish that there is nothing remaining that might reveal this state of affairs to the U.S. government.'
    She paused.
    'Very well, Viktor. I will arrange to travel down to the site. Where exactly did the fighter crash?'
    The voice on the telephone lost its anxious tone.
    Our sources state that it crashed onto a little peasant village named Kwan-ni… about two kilometres south of Toksan… that's about twenty-two kilometres to the south. The village is about a kilometre west of the Highway One.'
    Charlotte replied.
    'Very well, Viktor; I have that. I'll leave directly and see if there is any evidence remaining that could be embarrassing; but ten years is an awfully long time for anything to be still there.'
    'Thank you, Nadia; I know, but we just can't take any chance that there might be. We have a reception at the Embassy this evening. It would be nice if you could come.'
    She smiled to herself. That was his way of hinting that he was hoping to have sex with her again.
    'Thank you, Viktor. I shall be there if I get back to P'yǒngyang in good time.'
    His voice was soft and hopeful
    'Oh, I do hope you can get back in time. Until then, Goodbye.'
    She smiled again
    'Goodbye Viktor.'
    And replaced the telephone receiver. She leaned back in her chair, and smiled to herself. He was so transparent… like a little boy peering into a sweetshop window. Oh, what the hell? Why not?

The novel is running at just under 56,000 words... about one third of the proposed finished length.
More updates to follow.