Today is my stop on the Tested By Fire blog tour, hosted by @damppebbles, and I am excited to be sharing an extract of the book with you all.
Two terrorist Ideologies combine forces to assassinate the British Prime Minister and kill hundreds of innocent people on the streets of a British City. To hunt them down and eliminate them, David Reece leads a Black Ops team known as The Department or SG9 the killing arm of MI6. Time is short and acting on the information received by Reece from an agent from his past, he knows they must play by Big Boys Rules, kill or be killed.
HQ SG9 London City Airport
The brass plaque on the door said ‘Business Sales International’. The three-storey flat-roofed building located inside the perimeter fencing of London City Airport was, in fact, the secret headquarters of Secret Intelligence Group Nine. SG9, a section of SIS, the British Secret Intelligence Service, and known as ‘the Department.’
The Department had been created not long after the worst terrorist atrocity in the modern world, the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. And when London suffered its own attacks on 7 July 2005, where fifty-two people were killed by four so-called home-grown suicide bombers who exploded their backpacks on the London public transport system during the morning rush hour, since then there had been more attacks in Manchester and London.
The British Prime Minister, in agreement with his Cobra Committee, decided that Britain needed a secret organisation working outside the restrictive parameters of the existing intelligence agencies. Democratic governments around the globe were finding their hands tied by the need for transparency in their methods and the rise in media coverage meant they were scrutinised beyond anything they’d known before.
Prime Minister Peter Brookfield put the unit into the hands of the Head of MI6, Sir Ian Fraser – known to many only as C. He was given the power to recruit the team as he saw fit with the order to report back to the PM only when needed.
The fact that MI5 and MI6, along with other elite intelligence organisations throughout the world, had failed to identify the 9/11 attack meant that western intelligence agencies had to adapt to a new type of war; not only how to gather intelligence, but how to thwart the attacks and, in the case of SG9, retaliate. The CIA and the FBI were to be criticised after 9/11 for the way they kept secrets which, if they had been shared, would have shown an attack was being planned and maybe stopped. The US Government then formed Homeland Security to oversee all the American Intelligence Agencies, filter the information, and ensure those people at the top couldn’t work to protect their own little kingdoms in the future. The something else that was needed had been agreed between the Western powers: to share intelligence where they could, identify clear targets, and strike back.
The Department was set up in the two years after the July seventh bombings under the utmost secrecy and on a strictly need-to-know basis.
Back then, Sir Ian and his deputy for Subversive Activity, Jim Broad, personally scoured the files of relevant British covert agencies selecting the operators who would become the core of the Department.
The vetting had been carried out by Broad, a career spy who had gone straight to MI6 from Oxford University where he’d originally met Sir Ian. Fraser had taken a different direction and had worked his way up the army becoming a trusted friend of the PM and eventually heading up MI6 after a service record that saw him as General Officer Commanding British Military Intelligence.
Broad studied the Personal Record File of one of his SG9 operatives. The file was written in a crisp civil service format, telling him a lot but, in the end, very little.
Name, date of birth, and where he’d been born, Belfast. The file described retired Detective Inspector David Reece and his time covering the intelligence training and operational background. RUC Special Branch twenty-three years during the Troubles but what, realistically, was an all-out terrorist war. He’d served through the ceasefires, the peace talks, and the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement gathering – analysing all aspects of intelligence and, when necessary, handling the enemies of peace, even if that resulted in death.
He’d been a successful recruiter of agents and through the agents he had under his control had saved many lives and, on many occasions, prevented terrorists succeeding in their terror campaign. His skills were second to none: specialist firearms, bomb making and disposal, recruitment and training of new agents, surveillance, counter-terrorism techniques, interviewing…Reece was considered one of the best due to his ability to adapt and learn on the spot.
The file also showed that the impact of the dangers he’d come to face daily had taken their toll. Two failed marriages, two estranged sons from the first. Diagnosed with severe stress during a period of heavy drinking, resulting in a period of enforced leave, but somehow, with counselling and follow-up treatment, he’d come through it a changed man, the file said he was hardened to life around him, a loner who kept himself to himself.
The police service had changed since he’d joined and after taking early retirement in 2015, he’d stumbled from one type of personal security job to another, from bodyguard to the rich, to private investigations. This was when in 2017 the file of David Reece, retired Detective Inspector Special Branch RUC George Cross and Police Service of Northern Ireland PSNI had landed on the desk of Jim Broad and after some detailed enquiries, he’d brought the file to the attention of Sir Ian Fraser. Sir Ian respected the skill of his second in command and trusted his judgement, so when he’d read the file, he agreed that Reece should become an agent in the Department.
Now Broad was about to call him in for the most important mission of his career.
About The Author:
Because of the Official Secrets Act and the authors background David Costa is the pen name for the author who was born in Northern Ireland and had a 26yr career in Anti Terrorism work. His work covered most of the UK and stretched world wide. David always dabbled in writing and has had short stories and poems published under his real name.
This is his first novel and he has put his years of experience into the story. He believes in the Maxim, ‘Write what you know.’ David is married and now lives in the North West of England.
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A huge thank you to Emma @ damppebbles, for allowing me to be a part of this tour, and for providing me with the content for this post!
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