1980, big hair, shoulder pads and cocaine.... James Bishop has gone international.
Global expansion brings with it many challenges. As Jimmy attempts to remain on top of a troubled criminal kingdom, he discovers that the mysteries of the orient do not come with their own tourist guidebook. Hong Kong drug traffickers, hostess bars, bright lights and big money, complicate the stability and livelihood of his organisation.
Back in ‘dear old Blighty’ the welcome mat is out for Thatcherite Britain, home to high taxation, high unemployment and political unrest. MI6, the British internal security service, have their eyes on Donal Gallagher, Irish Republican Army Cell leader. Intent on ending British rule in Ireland, Donal has switched his campaign to the streets of London. Donal needs money, Jimmy has it.
Welcome to the eighties, the era of Thatcherism, an era of recession, unemployment, racial tensions and the era of my youth.
Trapped within the explosion of youth culture, I rejoiced in the cultural spin offs from a divided nation. From the flamboyancy of the New Romantics, to the voice of a disheartened youth, ignored and overlooked, inhabited by Skinheads and Punks.
The story, whilst paying attention to the political upheavals of a Britain in transition, takes on a global perspective, with hashish from Morrocco, heroin from the Golden triangle and a burgeoning player on the cocaine market, Columbia.
In my youth, I was an avid reader of James Clavell’s Asian saga, becoming infatuated with Asian culture. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to live and travel throughout Asia, which has only fuelled my desire to include an aspect of this culture in my novels. Hong Kong, in particular, always fascinated me. Here was a colony of the British Empire where East and West met in a symbiotic relationship. Hong Kong, and Jimmy’s association with it, provides the catalyst for change to set the novel in motion.
The book, whilst focussing on drugs as the major criminal enterprise, showcases the expansion and globalisation of the business. The drugs boom and its underlying felonious links move the story from an area of naivety into a much more dangerous, Machiavellian, world.
Where the first book was fundamentally about discovery and ignorance, the second novel examines duplicity and control, where trust and loyalty are dependent on the colour of money. Threats not only come from criminal enterprises but from political factions that seek to exploit the monetisation of the drug trade.
In the 1980’s, the I.R.A are at the height of its paramilitary campaign, culminating in the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. With MI6 attempting to thwart IRA terrorist attempts, it allows the story to highlight the insidious nature and the lengths each faction will go to in order to achieve their goals.