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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post - The Choson Connection by Marty Walpole

http://ravenswoodpublishing.blogspot.com/p/the-choson-connection-by-marty-walpole.html


The Choson Connection
Author: Marty Walpole
Release Date: June 25, 2016
Keywords: spy, treason, adventure, action, suspense, thriller, historical
Categories: Thriller/Suspense/Detective
Pages: 536
ISBN: 978-1532949593
Imprint: White Stag

ONE LINER: Peter Kelly, the CIA’s best marksman and assassin, is given a new mission - covertly enter North Korea and, if at all possible, rescue an American detainee.

Book Description:
For Sarah Kimble a quick excursion to North Korea’s  capital of Pyongyang, seemed like a great idea until she took photos of someone the North Korean Security Service didn’t like and arrested  her for spying. Sarah is transferred to gulag on the other side of the country. Meanwhile a senior member in the US State Department, fed up with American tourists being detained by the North Koreans, contacts Secretary of State Hamilton and Carl Benson - Director of the CIA. Peter Kelly, a contract assassin for the Agency is brought in. His mission:  to enter North Korea covertly and, if possible, get Sarah Kimble out. Together with his Japanese/American partner, Yuki Cassidy, Kelly travels at night to North Korean coastline by fishing trawler and enters the country. While making their way to the gulag, the pair come upon a truck carrying American Tomahawk missiles. Now the hunt is on, for the person who sold the North Koreans American weaponry.

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GUEST POST

I came up with this story after watching news reports of American citizens being detained in North Korea on, more often than not, trumped up charges. There were two such cases where, former American Presidents, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, traveled to the secretive country and negotiated the release of detainees. North Korea is a country that intrigues many people. It conjures up images of a frightening police state not dissimilar from Nazi Germany or perhaps, Orwell’s vision in his novel ‘1984’. Indeed, as Titanic continues to fascinate the shipwreck buffs around the world, North Korea, is a fascinating look into what many believe to be a dystopian society. It has a totalitarian system of government that intrigues, yet frightens, many democratic countries.  Many, however, still visit the country. It appears that North Korea’s tourist industry thrives on the fact that the country is known for its xenophobia and a government that is so paranoid that all forms of self-expression and freedom are squashed. It is simply curiosity that prompts ‘Sarah Kimble’ (one of the main characters in the story) to join a tour group for a two-day excursion to Pyongyang.  The characters in the story are a diverse bunch of people. Beginning with:
Sarah Kimble, who works in the US Embassy in Beijing, is an independent and free thinking individual whose insatiable curiosity ultimately gets her in some serious trouble. She is the lonely child of wealthy real estate and construction mogul, Kurt Kimble. Sarah is also motherless, which is why she has been so dependent on her father and his secretary, Margaret, for many years.
        CIA Director, Carl Benson has been in the “spy” business for three decades and thus possesses a unique and uncanny understanding of people. He is sagacious with a quick and well-trained mind. Benson, being old school trained, believes in justice and will go to great lengths to see that it is served. It is because of Benson’s experience and beliefs that the current US President, as well as past Presidents, hold him in such high esteem.
        Dexter Fox, Benson’s right-hand man. is a huge African/American. Fox is fastidious in his work and constantly keeps Benson appraised of all developments with operations. It is his job to liaise with field agents as well as other government security departments. These departments include the FBI, NSA, and NCIS.
        CIA field agent Yuki Cassidy is a Japanese/American stationed in the CIA’s Tokyo field office. The daughter of an America Marine Colonel and Japanese mother, Yuki grew up in the United States. She is a skilled 5th dan black belt Aikidoka and holds her own with her male colleagues.
        Matt Campbell is the CI A's station chief in Tokyo. He is Yuki’s direct boss. Campbell has worked in various field offices around the world which has brought him in contact with protagonist Peter Kelly on a number of occasions. Campbell and Kelly have a mutual respect for each other.
        Peter Kelly (the protagonist) is an ex US Army sniper. He was deployed to the border between Kuwait and Iraq prior to the US 2003 invasion of Iraq. His job was to “take out” any and all would-be Iraqi snipers that may be positioned along the border. he has worked on and off for Carl Benson for a number of years as a “gun-for-hire”. He is taciturn, stoic and kills without displaying any kind of emotion. For Kelly, the job comes first. he exhibits no feelings of regret or remorse when on a mission.
       Lieutenant Kan is a North Korean Army officer works under the direct command of infamous North Korean Army General, Pak. He appears to support the General in all matters of security and army deployment, however, he is secretly working for the CIA and covertly sends monthly reports to Matt Campbell in Tokyo about regime changes, army training camps and the situations in gulags throughout the country. Because of Kan's position within the North Korean Army and, in particular, his relationship to General Pak, he is a valuable asset for the CIA..
        Lieutenant Nam is the second-in-command in the Wonson “retraining” camp. He is highly educated and, because of living in South Korea as a Northern spy, speaks English fluently. Nam, however, is prone to fits of violent rage for the smallest of transgressions. He is, therefore, feared by other officers and guards in the camp. Nam’s choleric personality borders on insanity; thus it is his weakness.
        Captain Dong is the Wonson “retraining” camp commandant. Like his first officer, Nam, Dong is also a ruthless individual with no regard for human life. He is cruel and appears to delight in seeing prisoners tortured or beaten. Dong leaves most of the daily running of the camp to Nam and supports everything his first officer implements.
        Songfi and Jun-Suh are two North Korean resistance fighters. Songfi works in his family’s business as a shoe and boot maker or cobbler. Jun-Suh, is a huge man who helps Songfi with the shoe business. He is, however, more often than not unemployed. The two men work covertly with the Swedish Embassy passing on information as well as collecting it. They are both  sort by North Korean State Security.
      NCIS Agents Keith Thornton and Karen Miller, under the orders of Benson are investigating information received. Their investigation takes both of them to different cities across the United States following various leads.
       Professional hit-man, “Mike Redmond” (real name - unknown) hires out his services to anyone with the wherewithal to cover his exorbitant fees.. Governments or individuals, “Mike” does not differentiate; money is his only goal. He’s a pro and wanted around the world.

The above characters in the novel were based on various people I’ve met throughout my life. Nam and Dong, however are two characters that were conjured up from my own imagination. The personalities of these two men is essential for their roles in the Wonson camp. Indeed, an understanding and benevolent commandant and first officer would not be running a “retraining camp”.
        Peter Kelly is based on what I expect all CIA contract agents and assassins to be; people living in the shadows, people never seen but their results are clear. They are, effectively, the paladins in this world for justice. These are men and women are professionals who possess unique skills and abilities.
       Yuki Cassidy character is based on any female that yearns to be accepted into a profession that is primarily male dominated. She wants to prove to herself, as much to Kelly, that she is capable of the same professionalism as her male counterparts. Indeed, Yuki is my way of recognizing the contributions women in the military make to the security of countries around the world.
       CIA staff: Benson, Fox and Campbell were based on what I believe to be standard spy agency bureaucrats. By bureaucrats, I mean, that although they are honorable men, each man would sacrifice his life to protect the secrets of the agency rather than expose them.



About the Author
Marty hails from the small nation of New Zealand.  he now lives Osaka, Japan with his Japanese wife and two children. Marty began writing in his late teens and has kept it up all through his life. He has written for various blogs, web sites and small local news outlets. In 2011, he set about to write his first novel, ‘Giselle and the fate of Wahine’. Recently he completed his second novel, ‘The Choson Connection’ and is now beginning a new writing project.

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