Wednesday, 22 April 2020
Daniel Kemp’s latest book ‘A Covenant of Spies’ is everything that I have come to expect from him; an erudite, complex tale, that is so well developed, that he quite seriously, makes me wonder if he really does know something that the rest of us can only imagine.
Just in case you’re not familiar with Daniel Kemp’s work...He writes political thrillers and A Covenant of Spies is the fourth book in his ‘Lies and Consequences’ series. His books are beautifully researched and crafted into stories navigating the world of his protagonist Patrick West. It’s a device that not only introduces the reader to the murky world of lies and spies, it also delineates the passing of time in, what to the reader, becomes a strange unfamiliar and alien place in the 20th and early 21st centuries.
The narrative is driven by dialogue between Fraser Ughert and Patrick West. Despite having known each other for many years, and on occasions worked together, there are vast areas of the Secret Services about which West knows little. Ughert is advanced in his years and he tells tales of the Cold War, spies busy with subterfuge, spies who were up to their necks in events that could shift the balance, the potential disaster of a war on humanity. We are dazzled by the sheer amount of spies of all nationalities; this book really demonstrates that there really is A Covenant of Spies.
But come on, this is fiction, isn’t it? Really? Well think again...
Cast your mind back to the first of November 2006. Alexander Litvinenko was a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and KGB. After speaking critically about what he saw as corruption within the Russian government, he fled retribution to the UK, where he remained a vocal critic of the Russian state.
On the first of November 2006, Litvinenko suddenly fell ill and was hospitalised in what was established as a case of poisoning by radioactive polonium-210; he died from the poisoning on 23 November. He became the first known victim of lethal polonium 210-induced acute radiation syndrome.
The former Russian spy was poisoned with a cup of tea in a London hotel. Working with Scotland Yard detectives, as he lay dying, he traced the lethal substance to a former comrade in the Russian secret service.
Litvinenko knew that he was dying; we watched him die on television.
Reports found that Litvinenko was killed by two Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun and that there was a "strong probability" they were acting on behalf of the Russian FSB secret service.
Marina, Litvinenko’s widow, says that she, and the coroner examining his case, are disappointed that the British government has blocked a public inquiry into his death.
The coroner had argued that an inquiry was necessary because vital evidence couldn't be considered by a normal inquest.
Speaking to Jeremy Vine on The Andrew Marr Show, Mrs Litvinenko said that she's worried that it will not be possible to achieve justice until an inquest is completed.
Is that enough to convince you? If not try googling 4 March 2018, Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the UK's intelligence services, and his daughter Yulia Skripal were poisoned in Salisbury, England, with a Novichok nerve agent, according to official UK sources and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Spies are facts; they are there and British history is littered with them. You couldn’t make it up,”people say, when crazy things happen, when we are face to face with “breaking news” on the news channels. The cases above are straight from that genre...reality bites and the sagacious, adroit mind of Daniel Kemp weaves a tantalising, beguiling tale.
A Russian spy, Nikita Sergevovitch Kudashov, wants the British government to give safe passage to his Granddaughter in Russia and it falls to Patrick West to investigate why Kudashov wants this. The Granddaughter has information that would be useful to our country...why shouldn’t the government grant Shudashov’s request? As a spy himself West is suspicious...and he, and Fraser Ughert deliberate into many long nights as to Shudashov’s agenda.
If you’re a fast reader, slow down, there’s an abomination here that could just happen; a hideous Orwellian manipulation...I’m saying no more, other than it’s only spoken of in little snippets, little morsels here and there, maybe just a sentence or two. Daniel Kemp gives you the clues, don’t miss them; a shudder ran up my spine as I read.
It’s no secret that I love Daniel Kemp’s work. He tussles with my mind with conundrums that I could never dream up. Seasoned readers of the ‘lies and consequences’ series will love ‘A Covenant of Spies’. New readers, I envy you. You are in the hands of a master storyteller...enjoy.
Daniel Kemp's political thriller is at Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk
And at all Amazon outlets.
Sunday, 27 January 2019
“The Widow’s Son” by Daniel Kemp is both an intriguing piece of writing and intriguing in terms of the genre of the political thriller; Daniel Kemp has created a tightly paced, engaging narrative presenting his reader with a murky, soiled, strangely exciting world of power and corruption.
This is a dark world of spies, lies and deceivers and from his newly created position as head of the British Joint Intelligence Committee, and with only one or two people he can trust, Daniel Kemp’s protagonist, Patrick West, realises that he has a potential disaster on a world wide scale; nothing short of a war on humanity, to circumvent. And how is the narrator going to achieve this with deception on such an extensive scale?
Nothing is clear for him; why this promotion? Whom can he trust?
In a way, this book can be viewed through the lens of appearance and reality. I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of this before, after all the book is subtitled “lies and their consequences.” Whom can Patrick West believe? Whom can the reader believe? Daniel Kemp has given us an engaging narrator, but how reliable is he?
We would do well to keep just a tiny space of doubt in our minds. Just as people in the real world tell a tale from their own point of view, so it is with fiction, and Daniel Kemp knows what he is doing; he writes fiction at its finest.
This is the third book in a trilogy that began with “What Happened in Vienna Jack?” This is followed by “Once I Was a Soldier.” With the exception of a few chapters in all three books, the narrative is driven, in the first person, by Patrick West and it is through his eyes that events unfold. The beginning of each book picks up some twenty years after the conclusion of its predecessor; Daniel Kemp is tracing his protagonist’s life, from his mid-twenties, his late thirties and finally, his early fifties. In the Widow’s Son we join the narrative sometime during the mid nineteen nineties.
Daniel Kemp is an eloquent writer which makes his book a pure pleasure to read, he understands the need for meticulous research; he has to. If a writer is using past events to blend with his fiction, then those events have to be accurate, Daniel Kemp knows this and he will not patronise his reader by writing an approximate version of history.
I said earlier that The Widow’s Son is fiction at its finest, I really do believe that. Enjoy. This is worth every penny of a Kindle download, or for a real treat the paperback is a keeper. Oh, and I never saw the ending coming...I wonder if you will!
The Widow's Son is at all Amazon outlets.
Friday, 30 November 2018
I read "Enslaving Eli", admittedly some time ago now; it really hit a resonance with me, and it still does. Much "erotica" is simply centred about sex, but good erotica involves the reader, and gives the reader something to think about. Enslaving Eli does just that, what drives his submission, what drives his decisions? When does his submission, willingly given, become binding, the control he gives up become absolute? He willingly enters the wonderful Coterie, never to leave. As a submissive, I’ve moved some way along this journey, but certainly not all the way, but could I, would I?
Yes, I`m a male submissive, and proud of it. My submission makes me feel strong, and safe. I have no sexual agenda, I seek only to fully give control to another, to be used and cared for by another, to please and be useful to another. It is very difficult to put that submission feeling into words, and just as difficult to predict how far it might take me, but we can try.
To be in the presence of a truly dominant woman is an "electric" feeling. To kneel at the feet of a dominant woman generates an exquisite wave of submission; not something lost, but something gained. I feel strong, focused and "safe", it`s like entering another world, one in which only your dominant is important, and where consequently your worries simply disappear. It`s a very subservient and incredibly compliant situation; focused only on the dominant, her instructions are unquestioned, binding, there to be followed. While the reasoning behind this submission may be complex, the effects are simple. I feel refreshed, at ease, everything becomes so simple, only one thing to do, to serve. That exquisite feeling of submission is "addictive", it taps into something very natural, and you need it again, and why wouldn`t you!
Eli`s first meeting may have been both sexually and submissively driven, but his submissive drive quickly takes over; it`s almost inevitable. A submissive will quickly ascertain whether he/she is in the presence of a dominant, and vice versa; put the two together and the result can be predictable. If that submissive wave manifests itself, then he will crave more, will need confirmation, and if She accepts, then the journey will begin. He`ll want to be controlled, to be pushed, tested and abused, in order to prove himself to her; he becomes "obsessed" with her, focused only on her, focused on her dominance and control. I understand that, I feel that, I`m on that journey, but unlike Eli, my journey will be more truncated.
Why the need to be tested and abused? For myself it is an essential element of the Domme-sub relationship. It can take many forms, infliction of pain, humiliation, deprivation, to name just some. Let me say immediately, I am not a masochist; the situation with a masochist is, in my opinion, very different. A masochist seeks pain; it is a battle within himself to take more pain. Myself, I hate pain, but it is a hugely important part of forging that connection with your dominant. I get through the pain by acutely focusing on the dominant, trusting and respecting her; she has complete control and can do what she wants, and through those actions the connection of Domme with sub is built and strengthened. Through those actions my submission is heightened, and my position with regard to the Domme is exemplified. On the one side I feel strong and safe in her presence, on the other she can inflict pain and discomfort, such a beautiful dilemma!
Let`s imagine I`m a free agent, no ties, no relationships, would I, as Eli does, take the journey further to its conclusion? I love the idea of the Coterie, a Female led supremacy; as a submissive I`m fascinated with such ideas, but they are just fantasy. I value my intelligence and independence, more so than my submission; to be absolutely enslaved, would I not just become a docile pet, mentally subdued and altered? I think the answer is clearly No, I could not take that journey to it`s conclusion. There has to be a balance established. What is much more feasible is a Female led Relationship, that`s something I would certainly aspire to!
Some of my thoughts, in part inspired by "Enslaving Eli", it`s what good erotica should do. I've discovered my submissiveness, and I embrace it; let yours out and experience the release!
Enslaving Eli is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK
Saturday, 11 August 2018
Once I was a Soldier by Daniel Kemp is the second in a trilogy that opened with What Happened in Vienna Jack? Once I was a Soldier picks up the narrative some 20 years later. It’s not obvious, at first, because the characters seem new, but if you have read the first book, you will realise, slowly, slowly that you have met these characters before.
This is a thriller of the highest quality. I’ve made the comparison between John le Carre and Daniel Kemp before. Both of these writers have agile, creative minds and both are experts in their chosen fields of espionage and the politics of the era.
The theme of Once I was a Soldier is power. People crave power, even if they already have it, they are greedy and want more. Those in power are afraid of losing it and guard it jealously.
The novel opens with an abuse of power. Melissa Iverson has inherited a vast fortune. Her lawyer reads her the contents of her Father’s Will. Her Father has made provisions for his two elderly, much loved servants, leaving them a house in which to live out their days. But the clause isn’t water tight and Melissa demands that the elderly couple are thrown out of their home immediately. This abuse of power drives the narrative.
This is some of the finest erotica I’ve read. The writer lulls the reader into believing that sex and wealth are so high on the agenda that we are reading a narrative that lures us into the sexually determined world of Jackie Collins, or Shirley Conran.
And neither is this Agatha Christie, there’s no room for Miss Marple here. There is a change of mood and pace that is shocking. We stumble into a gritty, dark world...the characters with whom we thought were safe and dependable are not what they have seemed. Who are their masters? Who truly, ultimately has power? We don’t know and for the most part we never find out, we can only guess. but the final pages bring us back to the narrative...it is shocking, leaving us in no doubt that evil really does exist.
If you like your reading to be challenging, if you like the mystery of where Daniel Kemp is taking you..be warned, Once I was a Soldier is disturbing, but you will enjoy the journey.
Here is Danny Kemp's Amazon Author Page where you can browse Danny's books and read more about Danny, the writer.
Sunday, 24 June 2018
Truth and lies, lies and truth and which is which? Can the truth be hidden in a lie and a lie be veiled in the truth?Suppose there are secrets too? Just the knowledge that something is hidden, well, reality can become a little blurred and obscure. When Patrick West meets Jack Prior in Daniel Kemp’s “What happened in Vienna Jack?” an investigation into police corruption in Soho leads, indirectly, to what could become a world ending catastrophe.
“What Happened in Vienna Jack?” Is a thriller, a tale of espionage and deceit, a story where a turn of reality can change with the turn of a page. I am constantly amazed by Daniel Kemp’s ability to not only keep control over a vast array of characters but, simultaneously, weave an erudite absorbing narrative that leaves me confounded. It was difficult to harness what I was reading. Daniel Kemp is meticulous in his research and extremely knowledgeable about Europe’s political landscape of 1933-1970.
In November of 1937 a violation, somewhere in Europe and prior to WW2, precipitates the unfolding narrative. Like any violation it is cruel, humiliating...just by reading about it, I felt dirty. The violation involves a prominent Nazi and a member of the British monarchy...see what I mean about secrets? This secret is so controversial (and “controversial” here is a massive understatement) that it is hidden, even to the point of murder, for fear of the secret being divulged. It’s an adroit piece of writing.
When I’ve posted this review I shall be reading “What Happened in Vienna Jack?” again. I think that most lovers of the thriller genre will feel the same. I’m not ready to leave either the characters, or this compulsive, gripping narrative...I’ll linger over every paragraph. And I’m pleased to learn that this book is just part one of a book series. If I haven’t made it clear enough, this book is highly recommended.
What Happened in Vienna Jack? Is at Amazon US and at Amazon UK
Thursday, 3 May 2018
“Why? A Complicated Love” Is a lyrical, urgent tale of love, despair, betrayal and retribution told by my favourite author, Daniel Kemp.
The novel is told as a first person narrative by Terry Meadows. The reader is privy to Terry’s thoughts..the story unfolds through the effect that the main characters have on his life.
Daniel Kemp sets a quiet steady pace, there’s no rush, as he introduces his main players...Terry, Laura, Francis and Sammi. We are quickly drawn in to this tale of distorted sexuality. Just a few paragraphs details a reason for Francis’ debauched, controlling behaviour. It’s a behaviour that has Sammi and Laura’s seeming acquiescence. And simply the fact that Terry is witness to this sick, claustrophobic family, means that he also is a puppet to Francis’ depravity. It is Francis who drives the narrative.
Do you believe in love at first sight? No? Please suspend your disbelief. I’m talking about the sort of love that Shakespeare crafts for his tragedy Romeo and Juliet, or the poignant lyrics that Stephen Sondheim writes for the equally tragic West Side Story.
For an audience to be drawn into an intense, heated whirl of recognition takes a skilled, sensitive writer...eyes meet across a crowded room..forgive the cliche, but that’s the moment I’m trying to conjure up…and it’s exactly that moment that Daniel Kemp, crafts, so exquisitely, in the meeting of Terry and Laura.
Many Poets, Artists and Novelists believe in love at first sight...they spend their creative lives telling us about it, we feel their heat as they chant their magic..
I love this novel by Daniel Kemp, it is pure pleasure to read. Where Erotica occurs, it’s entirely appropriate…as is violence. You can, if you like, dissect the narrative, but in the process don’t lose sight of a beautifully written, absolutely engaging story. I shall certainly be reading a lot more from Daniel Kemp.
This book is available at all Amazon outlets. Amazon UK and Amazon US