A fast-paced International Banking and political thriller
2022. Brexit negotiations failed forcing a General Election. A new, anti-establishment, party is elected to power by a disillusioned electorate. But the new Prime Minister Walsingham has Communist sympathies and plots the downfall of the economy so that his Far Eastern allies can ‘bail-out’ the UK in exchange for majority control over the shares in crucial defence and infrastructure public companies – and control over the Constitution of the UK. Their mantra is ‘why invade a country when you can buy it?’
The economy is collapsing leading to the closure of banks and cashpoint withdrawals restricted to £30 per day. There is rioting in the streets. However one bank - the centuries-old British and Commonwealth Banking Corporation (BritCom) remains strong during the crisis. Having the word ‘British’ in its title has meant that it has been entrusted with trillions of pounds worth of savings and pension moneys by a worried population. But Britcom’s main board members in Switzerland are bribed by Walsingham and his Far-Eastern paymasters to destroy their own bank – which they all know would be the ‘final-straw’ for the economy.
Will Harriman, Head of Compliance at BritCom asks questions about dangerous lending of billions of pounds for the construction of tower buildings in the UK which he can see are never going to be completed. The owners behind the loans are hidden behind vast networks of offshore companies and trusts. He is sent by his Swiss bosses to Gibraltar, ostensibly to get answers, but he has actually been sent there to be kept ‘out of the way’.
The book introduces a fictional secret society called the Protectors of the Realm (‘the Protectors’) formed in the era of Oliver Cromwell (during the English Civil War) as an offshoot of the famous ‘Levellers’ Society to protect the Constitution and the Realm. Membership today includes high-ranking military officials within its current membership. It’s current head, General Carr, learns about Walsingham’s plans. When he hears that the plans include abolishing the Monarchy, he activates the society for the first time in almost 400 years
Tony Carr (SAS Captain and son of General Carr) is sent by the Protectors to Gibraltar to try to find out what support can be offered to the banker (who has been ‘making waves’ and filing reports about his concerns and suspicions). The Protectors hope to obtain evidence of the plotting of the PM which they can provide to the media and as a result their coup would be unnecessary. In Gibraltar Tony contacts Will and gives him secret contact information if he is ever in trouble.
In the bank in Gibraltar Will is introduced to Tariq Ziyad * who has crossed the Straits of Gibraltar on his luxury yacht from his fortress home (an old Moorish Castle) near Tangiers in the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. Tariq is ‘fronting’ the rogue loans and the conspiracy. They argue when Will asks for more evidence about his background and the complex offshore structures.
The novel is all about a race over a weekend by Will and Tony - who have found themselves stranded in Spain with no money or passports and being hunted by both the Spanish Police and Tariq’s men. They need to halt three massive payments running into trillions of pounds destined to be sent to London from Britcom Gibraltar first thing on the Monday morning which would bring down Britcom and as a result effectively bankrupt the UK. Will (as Head of Compliance) and new-found love interest Levanter (Head of Britcom Gibraltar Operations) are the only persons who can overrule their Swiss bosses and stop the payments from being sent.
The book includes;
- An attempt on Will’s life
- A kidnapping of Elliot (Levanter’s Son)
- Will and Levanter are held hostage on Tariq’s mega-yacht
- A commando raid on Tariq’s Moroccan fortress, led by Tony, where chemical weapons are found along with evidence of an imminent terrorist plot against the City of London
- A meeting by Will and Tony in Spain who hire a fishing boat and following a chase across the Med reach Gibraltar
- A discovery of secret passages inside the Rock known only to Tony and the military.
And there the denouement begins. Can the comparatively soft banker and the battle-hardened military officer combine to stop the payments, halt the closure of Britcom (resulting in the Bankruptcy of UK Plc) - and avoid a bloody military coup?
*Tariq believes he is descended from the Moor Tariq ibn Ziyad whose men landed on Gibraltar in the 8th century. The name Gibraltar derives from the Arabic for Mountain (Jabal) and Tariq hence Jabal Tariq (Tariq’s Mountain) eventually became Gibraltar. Under the plot, Tariq is promised he will be made Governor of the Rock in honour of his ancestor.
7.30 am London – Monday 2nd May 2022
They had not moved for 10 minutes or more. The Metropolitan Line train ground to a halt in the tunnel soon after leaving Finchley Road, probably waiting for an available platform at Baker Street. The combination of 40 or so people in a dark, confined space with no air-conditioning was creating a nervous and sweaty tension. For those standing and unable to move it was becoming claustrophobic. Regular commuters buried heads in newspapers and kindles, desperately trying to avoid eye contact with someone more deserving of a seat.
Will Harriman, Head of Compliance and Risk at the UK banking giant British and Commonwealth Merchant Banking Group, known throughout the world as BritCom, had secured the prized possession of a seat. He took a swig from his bottle of water, unable to avoid the feeling of guilt that there might be someone in the carriage more deserving. He closed the spread sheet on which he had been working and ventured an upward glance. A headline on the back of a newspaper, folded immediately in front of him, caught his eye - Cashpoints max at £30 a day. PM getting cosy with new best friends from the Far East. It was stark media confirmation – trillions of pounds, dollars and euros were being transferred between branches of overseas banks, including his own, and used for speculation against sterling. The pound was in freefall and banks were running short of money. Two major high street banks had recently been compelled to close their doors and had their stock exchange quotations suspended. Will desperately hoped that BritCom, which had a 250 year history of traditional British merchant banking stability, would not be similarly affected.
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