A tense firefight on the Russian-American border heralds the start of a terrifying high-stakes assignment for special forces Major Rake Ozenna in this gripping espionage crime thriller.
Rake’s mission takes him to a settlement on the Russian coast where he uncovers evidence of a weapon that would cripple civilization as we know it. But where is the weapon now? Who possesses it, and what is their ultimate goal? As world leaders gather for the signing of a new European security treaty, Rake enters a desperate race against time to prevent a catastrophe beyond imagining.
On page 196 of Man on Fire, my third Rake Ozenna thriller, I lay out the stakes on the changing nature of warfare. Conflict today is less about guns, boots on grounds and aircraft carriers, and more about technical paralysis and turning people against their governments.
‘Infrastructure and systems would be collapsing, and anger against governments would be beginning,’ explains antagonist Ruslan Yumatov. ‘This would be made worse through an intricately planned social media onslaught exposing the lack of preparation. With blame diluted and muddled, people would ask why their governments had not protected them.’
Over the past year, all of us have experienced a little bit of this scenario with questions asked about Covid preparedness, allegations of corruption and manipulating elections, and so many reports and counter-reports that it’s impossible to know what to believe.
In Man on Fire, I take things further to create a ‘weapon of unimaginable power’ which Rake Ozenna needs to find before it is triggered.
The more I researched Man on Fire, the more chilling and realistic the scenario became. Rake’s mission only uncovers a fraction. Former Cabinet Office minister Sir Oliver Letwin was once in charge of government preparedness and last year published Apocalypse How on how to protect ourselves from a crisis in Britain. I gave him a look at the Man on Fire manuscript, and he replied saying, ‘This is not just a page-turner; it is also a wake-up call.’
Man on Fire was published on 29 April 2021. To read more aboutHumphrey Hawksleyhead over here.
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