Sunday, 1 March 2015

Book Launch from Safkhet Publishing! War 2.2 by Jim Webster! #LLm #Books @JimWebster6

I have the pleasure of welcoming Jim Webster onto my blog! Jim’s here to tell us a little bit about his new book published by Safkhet Publishing, War 2.2

An action packed investigation, from Delta mud to the palaces of Merchant
princes, Haldar is back in War 2.2

Haldar Drom is starting to worry. The long running insurgency in the Zala
Delta suddenly starts to spiral further out of control. Who is arming the
insurgents? How and why? Then a leading local politician who is using his
influence to try and keep things calm is threatened with assassination. It's
obvious that things are moving to a climax.

All Haldar has immediately available is a third year university student who
gets given a dissertation project she'll never forget; young journalist who
he convinces to investigate the situation of the ground; and a retired
marine librarian whose job is to keep the politician alive. As the
investigation proceeds, from the mud of the Delta to the luxurious
surroundings of the Drake Islands, Haldar comes to realise that he may be
facing Wayland Strang's counter-attack. Faced with a coup d'état spearheaded
by off-world mercenaries Haldar has to react quickly to stop a major war.


Like an adolescent on a first date, Willon had agonized about his appearance. In his case he had no wish to appear achingly cool. Rather he was intent on looking professional. He had pondered his limited wardrobe and had finally decided on bottle green britches of conservative cut and a side buttoned tunic in metallic grey that he had purchased to wear at a relative's funeral. Yet he still felt the need to cut some sort of dash, so he inveigled a colleague into giving him a lift in one of the company floaters. Hence he was dropped off on the upper terrace of the Alani Hotel to the amusement of the dinners. Nodding courteously to those sitting and eating, he crossed the terrace and entered the main fifteenth floor dining room as the antique wall clock struck eight. He saw Mistress Bonart arrive at the dining room on the arm of the manager. A fleeting smile crossed her face and she turned and said something to the manager who bowed and withdrew.

"Willon, punctual indeed." She held out an arm and he hastened to lead her to the table she indicated. He seated her and then waited to be invited before seating himself.

They sat in silence as she studied him and he, more covertly, studied her. Mistress Bonart, widow of Targan Bonart the celebrated playwright, poet, dreamer and drunk, was a lady in her late sixties  or thereabouts. She was small, her once black hair was white now, her clothes almost as conservative as his own. She smiled at him impishly and he found himself smiling back.

She held the menu lightly in one hand, "If you like I could order for us, I'm perhaps more familiar with the foibles of the cook than you are."

Willon nodded, then remembered his manners, "Yes please."

She tapped the side of the table and almost instantly a waiter appeared. She gave him complex instructions, he raised issues, she brushed them aside with another of those impish smiles, he rallied, raised other issues. Still in no mood to take prisoners a hint of steel entered her voice. The waiter's defenses collapsed utterly and he scuttled off to do her bidding. As he watched this exchange Willon was acutely aware that he was about to dine with the lady who had single-handedly built up Tsarina Broadcasting. He remained watchful and silent. Her brief skirmish with the waiter completed, Mistress Bonart turned her full attention onto him.

"So Willon Cartif, you have ambitions."

Willon was cautious, unsure exactly of what Haldar had done to win for him this interview. "I suppose so Ma'am."

She made an abrupt gesture. "I am certainly older than your mother but I'm not going to waste my evening in tedious formality. I am Bertrice, and I'd be grateful if you could use my name. I in turn will scandalize everyone by calling one of my employees 'Willon', so heads will be turned and everyone will assume we are having an affair." Again there was the impish smile and suddenly Willon felt he was a fellow conspirator rather than a potential sacrificial victim.

"So Willon, tell your friend Bertrice why exactly you have decided, against all wisdom, to leave a comfortable billet in Channel Six and become a freelance."

Willon was about to launch into a prepared speech when she raised a hand. "And note well I have known young Haldar Drom for more years than I care to remember, so I think you can give me the version of the story that includes him."

Deflated, Willon struggled for something to say. He was briefly rescued by the arrival of the first course, a gastropod pâté served with various herbs. The waiter placed their plates and withdrew. "How about telling me your story from the beginning," Bertrice prodded.

For the next half hour, with brief pauses for eating, Willon was gently cross examined. Finally, the sweet course swept away and a selection of liqueurs placed on the table for them, she allowed him to lapse into silence.

"So, you are a young man at the crossroads of your career." She studied him as she spoke. "On one hand you have a decent salaried position on Channel Six. I've checked and you're well liked, considered perfectly competent, and it is assumed that you will work your way steadily through the organization. Or on the other hand you can give this up and go freelance." She was still watching him closely. "I have to tell you that should you leave Channel Six, even on this assignment, that we cannot keep your job there open for you." She raised a hand to forestall any protest. "This isn't a judgment on your ability or a sign of disapproval, it's a simple fact. We'll need someone doing the job while you're not there, and if that person is any good, then it would be unfair to just kick them out again. Not only that but if you do this freelance job for Haldar Drom, do you honestly think you'd be happy in Channel Six anymore?"

Willon subsided a little, and then Bertrice asked, "Have you ever been freelance?"

"Well I have submitted the occasional piece over the years."

"That means no Willon. Strangely enough I have. I had to freelance for ten years to support my husband and three children." She sighed. "You might think you're pretty low down the pecking order at the moment, but you wait until you're freelance. You're lucky if one in three people returns your call; you spend your time making friends of receptionists and personal assistants. You're the last person they get round to paying and the first person they decide they can do without. Still think you want the job?"

Willon smiled slowly. "I think so."

"And what do you know about the Zala Delta Insurgency?"

"Rather more than I did this morning when Haldar asked me the same question."

"Good answer. You're hired. We have a standard contract, I'll have one of my people drop it round to your desk tomorrow morning along with your severance pay."

"Why, thank you," Willon almost stammered, he was somewhat surprised by the speed of it all.

"Thank me when you've done the job and can decide whether it was such a good idea."

She gathered her belongings as if she was about to leave, then she paused. "Willon, another thing; what do you think about the freedom of the press?"

Willon looked at her, "But of course I believe in the freedom of the press. It is the duty of the press to hold the powerful to account."

She ran her finger round the rim of her glass. "I know it is boy, but how do you square this with working for Haldar Drom?"

Willon sat in deep thought. She continued, "I know, the question hasn't occurred to you has it? Still, don't try to answer it now, but just keep thinking about it, that's all I ask. Haldar I trust, the Governor is a decent enough man, but it might be that one day it will be your duty to hold them to account. Make sure that you can do it with a clear conscience."

She paused as if wondering whether to say something. Willon watched; it was the first sign of indecisiveness he'd seen from her.

Then she said. "Are you able to be just the reporter and not to be part of the story?"

"How to you mean Madam?"

"I mean can you report a wrong without wanting to right it? Can you sit outside looking in or are you going to go native?"

She smiled at his hesitation. "Cheerful banter on Channel Six doesn't force you to ask these questions does it?"

With that she stood up. Hastily he stood up as well, and she offered him her hand to kiss. As he bowed his head to kiss it she said softly, "And remember, the only person you have to sleep with is yourself." As he raised his head again she kissed him gently on the cheek. "That should give the gossips something to talk about."

About Jim:

I'm Jim Webster. Claims to be fifty something, and has been married to the same lady for thirty years. We have three daughters who've all sort of left home. I've been a livestock farmer in South Cumbria all my life, and for the last forty or so years have combined this with freelance journalism and writing. For relaxation I walk a lot, read (mainly ancient history) and have been a wargamer and roleplayer for as long as I can remember.


Thanks for sharing, Jim! 

Keep safe everyone!

Lots of love,



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