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Version Thirteen

A searing thriller that pitches the oil industry against the arms trade by Martin Baker

This book is published, but you can still pledge for rewards!

Version Thirteen cover

The Synopsis

PLEASE NOTE: Version Thirteen is in production so your name can not be listed in the back of the book. However, you can pre-order a copy of the special Unbound Limited edition that will not be available in the shops.

Version Thirteen is my second thriller featuring Samuel Spendlove, an Oxford academic with a photographic memory who becomes an undercover agent.

My background is in financial journalism. The first book, Meltdown, was published in 2008, it got good notices and sold well, not least because it predicted and explained many of the elements of the global financial crisis that was to follow shortly afterwards.

I hope five years working as a script doctor have sharpened my storytelling skills and I’m really excited to announce Version Thirteen on the Unbound site.

It features some of the same characters from Meltdown – notably William Barton, master of a media empire spanning the globe, and Khan, a genius, super-secretive trader and self-styled master of the financial universe.

But whereas Meltdown was largely set in Paris and explored the madness and corruptibility of financial markets, Version Thirteen begins in Moscow and pits the world’s two most powerful lobbies against one another: the arms trade versus the oil industry.

Yavlinsky, a brilliant Russian scientist has created a piece of wonder-technology – a drilling process that uses the forces of supercavitation (the bubbles created by agitated water molecules). Named 'Version Thirteen', it enables oil explorers to take 40 per cent more oil out of the ground – it’s worth trillions .

But there’s a problem. Supercavitation is also the basis for highly sophisticated conventional weaponry - submarines and torpedoes that can travel at hundreds of kilometres per hour beneath the sea. Russian arms dealers have been selling this technology to Iran, amongst other countries, since the 1980s. If the revolutionary oil-drilling technology works, the supercavitation bubbles implode and the torpedoes and submarines are rendered useless.

Then Yavlinsky is found dead; the designs for the revolutionary supercavitational drilling process are stolen or destroyed. Someone has done a good job of suppressing this technology.

Except… One set of design plans does still exist – the one lodged in Samuel’s photographic memory. Suddenly, Samuel is the most wanted man in the world…

Why Unbound?

I’m keen to develop Version Thirteen into a movie and would welcome the interaction with readers as that process develops. Check out the extract and visit my shed for updates on my progress and draft chapters and book jacket artwork. I’d love for you all to be able to read it on the beach this summer…

For background on supercavitation and its defence applications, see:

Scientific American


For background on Meltdown see my website.

The Excerpt

YAVLINSKY WAS EARLY. Samuel could see the tall figure in his dark-grey, military-style overcoat stomping up and down outside the main entrance of the Tretyakov Gallery in Pyatnitskaya Ulitsa. It was an easy, if chilly, walk from Samuel’s hotel. He was getting used to the cold now. In fact, he enjoyed it in a perverse sort of way. Read more...

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The Author

I’m a novelist, scriptwriter and editor, and a judge of the Writers’ Revolution scriptwriting competition. I read law at Brasenose College, Oxford and qualified as a lawyer at a top City firm before pursuing a pluralistic career as a journalist.

Earlier work: a bitingly satirical critique of market capitalism (A Fool And His Money, Orion) and a novel, (Meltdown, Pan Macmillan), a prescient financial thriller that predicted market collapse – described by one Hollywood agent as ‘The Firm meets Wall Street, meets The Bourne Identity’. Version Thirteen is the second in the Meltdown trilogy.

I know the financial and economic coalface extremely well: From broadcaster at LBC, to City reporter at The Times, money correspondent at the Independent, investment editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris, associate editor at Sunday Business, to editor-in-chief of the now-defunct UK arm of, I’ve witnessed mania, trading frenzy and financial folly in all its forms. I’ve met and interrogated eccentric entrepreneurs (including the BBC’s Dragons before they were famous), World Bank presidents, finance ministers, heads of state – the good, the great, and the not-so-great.

The Rewards

This book is now published. You can still pledge, but you won't get listed as a supporter in the back.

Paperback original
First edition paperback
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e-book edition access to Martin's shed and your name in the back of the book


1st edition cloth-bound hardback, e-book edition, access to Martin's shed and your name in the back of the book

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Signed & personally dedicated 1st edition hardback, e-book edition, access to Martin’s shed and your name in the back of the book.

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All the above + two tickets to the launch party, held at somewhere suitably Russian.

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Everything up to & including the party level + two tickets to a caviar and vodka lunch with Martin in London (venue tbc).

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Everything up to & including the party level + you (or someone you nominate) – becomes a character in Martin’s next Spendlove thriller…

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  • Format: Hard Back
  • ISBN: 978-1-78352-001-5
  • Published: 10/2013
  • Format: Hard Back
  • ISBN: 978-1-78352-002-2
  • Published: 12/2013