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I'm quite pleased. Now it's getting a hard edit and then it'll go off to 1) beta readers to pull its ears and see if they can make it cry 2) a couple of subject matter experts, including a former student at MECAS - the Middle East Centre for Arabic Studies in Shemlan (I takes me research serious, like, I does) and last but by no means least 3) Agent Robin to see if he feels he can shop this one around.
The book is partly set in MECAS, which shut down in 1978 due to the increasingly dangerous environment that was Lebanon At War. MECAS has long fascinated me - it was from here George Blake was taken to be arrested for being a Soviet double agent. The Lebanese call it 'the British Spy School' with some justification. Few people know this little village above Beirut has such a murky past, but it's an absolute gift to someone like me. I have not hesitated to accept it!
It's a lot darker, IMHO, than Beirut - An Explosive Thriller and I would argue it has a little more of the feel of Olives - A Violent Romance to it. But then I thought Space was funny and my first Amazon review (as usual, Big Dave) emphatically disagreed. So what would I know?
It's not just about Shemlan, of course. There are little bits set in Tel Aviv, Baghdad and Riyadh and a lot in Beirut. There's a smattering in Aleppo and a good hunk in Tallinn and the island of Hiuumaa in Estonia. It's amazing what you can get up to with a little under 100,000 words to play with!
Anyway, as a consequence I have not blogged at all this week and so owe you an apology if you were expecting a slice of the usual inanity, half-thought and uninformed comment.