A Loyal Spy

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Why I wrote A Loyal Spy

Facts behind the fiction


Miranda's clues

The Montgomery, Sheerness

The Thames Barrier, London

Kabul River Gorge, Afghanistan


A Loyal Spy

Acting on intelligence from an informant in Afghanistan, a secret arm of British military intelligence attempt to assassinate Osama Bin Laden in the Kabul River Gorge in January 1999.  They are double-crossed. In the ensuing confusion a senior CIA officer is murdered.

Despatched to Sierra Leone in the summer of 2001 to investigate reports that a group is purchasing diamonds ahead of a major terrorist attack, British spy Jonah Said stumbles on an al-Qaeda cell led by his former school friend and informant Nor ed-Din. The last time Jonah saw Nor was in the aftermath of the bungled assassination attempt, he was lying face down in a pool of icy water in the Khyber Pass. For many years, Jonah had been under the impression that he’d killed him there.

Captured in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, Nor agrees to work for the Americans, offering to lead them to the al-Qaeda leadership. Only the British know the deadly secret that Nor may one day reveal – that they covered up the killing of a CIA officer. Only Jonah can get close enough to Nor to try and stop him before he goes public with the secret.

In the 'liberated zone' of Western Sahara and then at a secret CIA training site in Nevada, Jonah has the opportunity to kill Nor, in both cases he fails. In the countdown to the war in Iraq, Nor disappears.

It is 2005, the middle east is in flames and Nor comes out of hiding, posts a confession on YouTube and pledges to commit an act of spectacular terrorism. Jonah is forced out of retirement on a remote Scottish island where he has been living with Miranda, the woman he thought he loved enough to give up everything for.

Branded a traitor by the Americans and wanted by the police, Jonah’s only hope is to find Nor and kill him. He pursues his former friend from the tribal areas of Pakistan, to mountainous Afghanistan, to Jordan and Iraq, a twisting road of betrayal and revenge that ultimately leads to the Thames Estuary and a plot to blow up the wreck of a World War II era freighter that is packed with explosives...and destroy London.