Thursday, 7 May 2020

New Release Spotlight & Author Guest Post: The Lazarus Charter by Tony Bassett

The Lazarus Charter by Tony Bassett
Genre:  Spy thriller
Standalone sequel to Smile Of The Stowaway

The Lazarus Charter may be a work of fiction. But it’s a book that’s grounded in reality. It’s set in a Britain in which foreign agents seem to be free to swan in and out across borders, committing state-sponsored acts of terrorism as they travel.
And it’s set in a Britain in which military targets thousands of miles away can be obliterated by drone weapons being operated by the touch of a button in an office somewhere in London.
The Lazarus Charter is my second novel. It features the couple who appeared in my first book, Smile Of The Stowaway -- school teacher Bob Shaw and his wife Anne. That book concerned an immigrant accused of murder.
But in this sequel, the pair become immersed in a world of espionage as they struggle to understand how a Government scientist friend has come back to life five weeks after his funeral.
As the story progresses and the Shaws learn some dangerous secrets, they are forced out of their home and are confronted by ruthless enemies -- whose identity is, for a while, shrouded in mystery.
I felt compelled to write the novel partly because of the growing dangers posed in this country by foreign agents who seem to believe they can act without regard for the law.
Like so many people, I have been outraged at the way these agents have been free to smuggle deadly, unstable poisons into Britain and then use them to eliminate lives.
For more than a decade, there have been a spate of deadly incidents. One of the most dramatic was the polonium poisoning murder of British-naturalised Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, aged 44, on November 23, 2006.
I was a national press journalist at the time and remember the white tent erected outside the Litvinenko home in Muswell Hill. I also recall the startled faces of Russian neighbours in the street, who were too frightened to speak out.
In more recent memory comes the attempted murder with novichok of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal on March 4, 2018 in Salisbury – which led disgracefully to the death four months later of an entirely innocent party, Dawn Sturgess, also 44. Others who have offended the Kremlin – mainly Russian oligarchs – have succumbed to mysterious ends.
These foreign agents of death shun conventional weapons, preferring exotic poisons that risk endangering the lives of far more people than just their intended targets. My novel features two Russian agents who use poison as part of their everyday arsenal.
The British people have been lulled into believing the dangers and fears of the Cold War era that haunted our parents’ generation are gone. I sincerely hope that, if it achieves nothing else, my book will help ensure we all wake up to the realities of life in these challenging times.
Thankfully, the Johnson Government is now talking about beefing up our espionage laws. One suggestion is for a government department to hold a register of foreign agents. The Official Secrets Act and treason laws may also be updated.
Maybe the Government should have acted sooner. Maybe an earlier shake-up in Whitehall after Alexander Litvinenko’s death could have helped save the life of innocent mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess.

Bob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death?
This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne.  They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home in this fast-paced spy thriller from the author of Smile Of The Stowaway.

Amazon US          Amazon UK

Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life' magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People' where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard', broke the news in the `Sun' of Bill Wyman's plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People' of Rod Stewart's secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People', he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway', is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years.  He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren.  He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.