Lion – Escape from Russia follows 5 strangers that attempt a risky prison breakout and must face the consequences. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I love prison break stories. Right from the get-go, I decided the 6th thriller would have a fantastic prison-break as one of the key plot elements. The other element I would not compromise on was a ‘non-NATO’ hero. I think we’re all aware of what’s happening in Syria. I thought to myself, I’m certain there are every-day people in Syria, who are heroes, and I must capture that aspect in the story.
This is an exciting prison break story that seemed to revel in the details. What research did you undertake for this book to make things seem authentic?
For any of my research, Wikipedia is a starting point. Then I branch out. For the prison element, I watched documentaries on prisons in South America, Russia, the USA; I read news articles on prison atrocities and stories of members of a Russian pop-band, who were incarcerated. Found a couple of ‘top 10 worst prisons’ lists. I familiarised myself with the design elements of prisons (I love the word ‘panopticon’), found reference schematics for solitary confinement and prison cells, read up on security measures, and then drew my own prison, made it as impregnable as I could… and then decided what I needed to break somebody out of it. A logistical nightmare, good thing I write fiction. 🙂
For the Syria, Turkey border crossing and Russian atmosphere, there was more news article reading. The controversy of the chemical weapons in Syria and the conflicting reports interested me. I couldn’t work it entirely into this book, but it’s coming in the next book in this series. I use Google Maps a lot to familiarise myself with streets, layout, perspectives. The part about the Russian mercenaries getting duped upon arrival in Syria is based on a real incident. To get my facts about mercenaries correct, I read a book which explains how mercenary companies function. I think the Mil gunship is an intimidating helicopter. Without giving away too much, I watched flight sim videos, got a helicopter-fanatic-friend to run me through the rudiments of flying the thing and then put my spin on it. Every vehicle – including the Russian vehicles used in the prison – are real.
You have a knack for creating varied and well-developed characters. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this batch of characters?
I wanted to capture the strife in Syria. There are so many actors in the war, its terribly confusing and I’m certain Syrians know the original reason for the rising is lost in ulterior motives played out by the US- and Russian-led factions. I wanted my hero to be a political fugitive, and at death’s door. I wanted him to just be fed up with the war… and then, bring him back to the war… for his own objectives. This is because I think the people affected by the War are really doing anything they can to just survive. And that’s the underlying driver for any of the sequences in the book.
Mercenaries have always fascinated me. They’re portrayed as rogue soldiers with tons of attitude when they are employees for a company that needs to show profits. Well, and their job entails doing things regular armies cannot do for violating conventions and so forth. I wanted to bring out the for-profit facet of a mercenary company and focus not only on the boots-on-the-ground but the CEO and his advisors. I also wanted to toss out certain stereotypes. When you read the book, you’ll see my guys are not prone to killing but do their best to avoid it… unless it’s absolutely necessary. That’s why I even showed a merciful terrorist in the first chapter.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The next book is SPECTRE. It’s Book #3 in the Kirk Ingram action series. I can tell you, I’m pretty excited about it. It ties in everything from Haunted (2011) and Diablo (2015) and takes Ingram to a mind-blowing trilogy. I intend to release it in January 2020 – the anniversary of my debut novel, Haunted, back in 2011.
The Syrian War has spilt into its sixth year. The bloody contest between the Syrian National Army and the Free Syrian Army is confounded by rebel factions, terror outfits, fundamentalists, unscrupulous businesses… and a proxy war between the United States and Russia.
Aslan ‘The Lion’ Terzi, a political prisoner incarcerated at the notorious Tadmor Prison, is near suicide when a Daesh commander inexplicably gives him a new lease on life. Disillusioned by the depravity of the War, he chooses to flee Syria. But, a chance encounter at the border draws him back… for the love of a woman.
Goldline Solutions is the security contractor of choice for Sheikh Akhmed bin Rashid. When the disappearance of Goldline client, Leonid Rashnikov, threatens a lucrative multi-billion-dollar deal, CEO Samuel Goldsmith will put everything on the line to restore the sheikh’s confidence.
Russian FSB agent Illiya Pushkin sanctions an illicit operation in Syria. With a vindictive colleague on her trail, she finds herself complicit in a crime that propels her into the FSB’s most-wanted list.
Five strangers. Working on assumptions. No elaborate plan. No inside help. They will attempt the most audacious supermax prison breakout ever attempted on Russian soil.
In an imperfect world, the singular human instinct of survival is all that matters.
And there will be a heavy price to pay.
Thrilling from the first page to the last, I was instantly drawn into Lion’s vivid tale of unwavering action and adventure. Lion follows five individuals, brought together through intricate and overlapping incidents to pull off a prison break like no other.
The first scene unfolds with Aslan Terzi locked away and at death’s door when a timely turn of events has him reunited with the outside world. New and old acquaintances gravitate to combat and once again Aslan is thrown into the thick of the conflict, he so desperately tried to run from.
Misquita’s novel was an absolute thrill to read. His research is top notch and the flawless detailing shows for it. When I started the book, I did a double take just to make sure it was fiction! From the get-go we are thrown into the action; bloody, gut-wrenching, fist beating, action. And the pace does not let up. The character’s point of view switches frequently and subtly. You have to keep your eyes glued to the page to catch those quick changes. This is probably my only complaint, I got lost a few times because the narrative changed from one person to the next with little to no warning. However, I was impressed with Misquita’s smooth transitions and by the second half of the book, I got used to the speedy change of perspective.
The well-defined characters of Lion and descriptive action scenes are undoubtedly my favorite features. Each character begins with a defined personality that aids in the development throughout the book. The romantic, family and friendship relations among the characters appear as authentic and never fall into stereotypical roles. For such a short book all the characters portrayed a well-rounded arc. There were, of course, some individuals with a stronger narrative but I never felt there was a character lacking in explanation.
For a book of carnage and war as a backdrop, Misquita does not censor his readers from the gruesome battle scenes. Lion doesn’t pull its punches, with every fight scene emoting the overwhelming desire from the fighters to survive. As a reader, every do-or-die situation expressed the same sentiment as the real things; I had no idea what the outcome would be. The rich detail and graphic storytelling illustrate a gripping and awesome tale that Misquita beautifully crafted for his readers to enjoy, and enjoy it I did. This is my first book of Misquita’s but not my last.
Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07RTZ9JXX
The Immortality Trigger is, what I consider to be, a large scale thriller. There is a lot going on and it feels like so little time for the characters to do it in. How did you set about writing this novel and what did you want to achieve?
The book was to be a standalone with immortality at its core. But as I thrashed a first draft, I realised there were subtle elements in The Apocalypse Trigger, which could be fleshed out very nicely into a sequel. And then the title of the book clicked and I thought, that sounds good. It began as a simple revenge thriller, picking up with Fortesque and Wei Ling, then grew into a more complex story of redemption, unfinished business, the danger of immortality. I’m quite happy with the finished product even in terms of the story construct. I’ve experimented with flashbacks, revelations, suspense, a twist – new for me. I’m still learning the craft.
The characters in this novel are interesting, well developed, and varied. What character did you enjoy writing?
I enjoyed what I did with the protagonist, Luc Fortesque. Readers of The Apocalypse Trigger (the prequel), will be surprised I selected Fortesque to continue the series. He’s basically a guy who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, and believes life has been unfair to him. That has set him on a path that the world would frown upon. In this book, I want Fortesque to discover his old self – the glimmer of good in him, and wanted the readers to also feel sympathy for him.
The different factions in this story were an interesting mix. What were some themes you tried to capture while creating the different groups in your novel?
For Luc Fortesque, the anti-hero, I wanted the theme to centre around self-discovery and redemption. I’m fascinated by this aspect of human nature. For the villain, I wanted to debunk the grandeur of immortality. Personally, I think it will be a mess if we discover immortality. For the Nazi hunters, I wanted to portray the guilt of false accomplishment. And finally for my masked drug lord and vigilante, I called upon our pop culture of masked heroes and villains. I’ve tried to reduce the prominence of the US in the whole book – there are too many thrillers with an American hero.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The next book introduces a new character, and a new series. I’ve selected a very unlikely nationality for my character because I felt the people of that nation are heroes in their own way. The book is tentatively titled, “LION”, and is due 2018. After that, is the third book in the Ingram series (Haunted, Diablo). That is due 2019.
The Vesuvius Group is destroyed. But not all secrets perished… and none as desirable as the Secret of Immortality. The key to the enigma was unwittingly killed in an Allied raid on a Nazi stronghold in 1945… officially.
Allied paratroopers raid a secret Nazi research facility. The operation is reported as a success. But, the lone survivor, Benjamin Ezra, knows otherwise.
A drug lord, El Fantasma threatens to plunge Colombia into an era of bloody drug wars. DEA Country Attaché, Zachary Mason is in charge of a covert operation to remove El Fantasma, with the help of a vigilante, El Angel, and a retired undercover agent, Raymond Garrett.
In Naples, INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff, is investigating the death of her parents, when the Wytchoff family’s association with an ancient cabal comes under investigation.
After the events of The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc Fortesque, is scouring the world for the man who tested experimental drugs on him.
Wei Ling works for a shadow Transhumanist faction within China’s State Council, developing drugs that will enhance human longevity.
Their paths will converge… violently… and conclude the mission that began in 1945.
Posted in Interviews
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With a start in Berlin, 1945, The Immortality Trigger launches into present day, hurtling between Europe, South America and Africa with a gripping pace.The author, Douglas Misquita, is moved to write large-scale thrillers, and with the second book in this series, surely achieves that goal. Not only is this book vast and well-written, the story it tells picks angles with many appeals.
The Immortality Trigger clips along as expected being at heart an action-thriller and were it not for the hook at the beginning taking place during the closing years of the Second World War that hinted at monstrous experiments, it may be too stuck in one genre. But for fans of fast-paced modern tales with global reach that dabble in history, this is a perfect storm. Having the hint of science fiction gives the story a cross-genre feel, and the monstrous brutality at once has an otherworldly feel while being rooted in our dark reality. Turning the news on the right channel, and you will see how timely and accurate these atrocities are. All of them. From the experiments that took place in wartime Germany to the extermination happening in countries from east to west alike, the author offers some guide to fact at the end of the book.
From the outset, we follow INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff. Her grandfather has succumbed to cancer and his wish of being stored cryogenically has just been carried out. In his safe lay ties to an ancient society still very active today. Too active, as the bombing incident that killed her parents only a week before may be involved somehow.
Illegal fight rings delight in the superhuman strength of Luc Fortesque and it seems being more than human is something of a problem. He’s not the only one. An experimental and unstable drug he was given may make him a star in the ring, but Luc won’t rest until he’s found the transhumanist faction responsible. He may be an army of one, but there are armed and demented soldiers between him and his goal.
Colombian newspapers have been blaring the face-off between drug-lord El Fantasma and their rival, El Angel, who will stop at nothing to bring down the cartels. After a vicious and heart-stopping fight – in the middle of a bust free-way in daylight – a terrible clue is left bleeding in the leg of El Fantasma; a silver dagger. With no clue how this Nazi war relic came into El Angel’s possession, the threads begin to draw together when everyone involved needs answers.
By the midpoint of the book it seems nearly impossible for these factions with their very different worlds to be pieces of the same puzzle, but readers will delight in how problems new and old have become entangled.
Overuse of jargon, while inevitable in a story that deals with military language, is much more noticeable in the beginning of the book. Nearing the middle, it is either not as glaring or has been quelled. Using the same word four times in one paragraph never sounds right, however, and there are a few points where this is troublesome. Very tightly written otherwise, going from lush landscapes to cities, drug-fuelled frenzies to tense negotiations. For fans of epic thrillers, Douglas Misquita may well be the next binge read. With many previous books, this new series reads like a flashy blockbuster film, so it must be worth it to see where this author has come from. The cast is large, though not entirely dizzying so just enough to feel like a realized world of people but still keep track of all the players. While there is a little tedium in jargon, having a near Lucha Libre feel to the Colombian stand-off, the ghosts of Nazi Germany and pharma-infused soldiers leering from the shadows knocks this all closer to a perfect action novel for fans of bleak, realistic and dark action.
Pages: 386 | ASIN: B077GHCT7X
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