It’s always a real privilege to be part of a book’s journey into the world and I’m thrilled to have a publication day extract from Betrayal by David Gilman to share with you today. My thanks to Sophie Ransom for arranging this for me. Betrayal is the second book in the thriller series introducing Dan Raglan, a contemporary knight errant who served in French Foreign Legion. The first book in the series, The Englishman has been optioned for a Hollywood film.
Betrayal is published today, 6th January 2022, by Head of Zeus and is available for purchase in all the usual places, including directly from the publisher here.
Dan Raglan, former Foreign Legion fighter, alias The Englishman, returns. The new high-octane international thriller from David Gilman.
Someone’s trying to start a war. And Raglan’s just walked into the kill zone.
It has been many years since Dan Raglan served in the French Foreign Legion, but the bonds forged in adversity are unbreakable and when one of his comrades calls for help, Raglan is duty-bound to answer.
An ex-legionnaire, now an intelligence officer at the Pentagon, disappears. He leaves only this message: should he ever go missing, contact Raglan. But Raglan’s not the only one looking for the missing man. From the backstreets of Marseilles, Raglan finds himself following a trail of death that will lead him to Florida, to the camaraderie of a Vietnam vet in Washington D.C., and into the heart of a bitter battle in the upper echelons of the US intelligence community.
Pursued by both the CIA and a rogue female FBI agent, Raglan’s search will place him in the cross hairs of an altogether more lethal organisation. Tracking his old comrade, he finds himself in the midst of deadly conspiracy, and on a journey to a fatal confrontation deep in the Honduran rainforest.
An Extract from Betrayal
The headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, stands at Vauxhall Cross fronting the River Thames. The Norman Foster-designed building is known as Legoland to those who walk through its doors, and legend has it that when the spooks were invited to watch the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough and saw their HQ being blown up through film wizardry, they cheered. Their response when, in Skyfall, it was completely destroyed is likely to have been ecstatic.
In an office overlooking the bridge and the river, a man in his fifties was reading. He did not need reading glasses: his vision was as sharp as his intellect. Once a commander of special forces, now he was a guardian of state secrets, and the discretion demanded within MI6 was second nature to him. As were the lies. Lean and fit, silver hair trimmed behind his ears, he sat behind a broad mahogany desk, his charcoal suit-jacket on a hanger next to his similarly dark overcoat. There was a snap to the air, particularly on the river. His white shirt was ironed. Crisp. Creased, military fashion. His groomed appearance contrasted sharply with how he’d looked during his days in the field as a soldier. Then he had been as bewhiskered and crumpled as any combatant spending months in a hostile environment. As success rewarded him with higher rank, and diplomacy and politics crept into his arsenal, so too did the understanding that those he briefed needed to be advised by a man who looked the part. Which he did.
He was reading a buff-covered report. On the top and bottom of each page the security clearance was typed in upper case: ‘UK EYES ONLY’, the top-secret classification designating information of particular sensitivity to the UK. The desk was clear save for three different pens neatly laid side by side. The first a fountain pen with red ink for marking queries in reports from field officers, and the other two black, one a 0.7-mm point for writing comments in a small, tight script in margins, the other a broader rollerball, usually 1.0-mm point for a snappy flourish across a sheet to instruct, commend or criticize.
He did not raise his head when a firm double tap on his door told him there was some urgency behind the request to enter his office.
‘Yes,’ he said.
A senior member of his staff entered the room, closed the door quietly and waited.
He finished the paragraph he was studying. Made a mark in the margin. Raised his eyes. He smiled. ‘Jenny. Something of interest?’ He knew damn well that Jennifer Armstrong, senior department coordinator for his division’s SIS–CIA liaison, would not disturb him unless necessary.
‘Mr Maguire, I have Lewis Culver from Langley on line one.’
‘But you want to brief me before I speak to him.’
‘Yes, sir.’ She stepped up to the desk, opened the folder she carried and placed a single sheet of paper in front of him. ‘We had this advisory from the Americans. Their passport control at Florida’s Orlando International airport flagged Dan Raglan’s arrival. He was accompanied by Mrs Reeve- Carter, her son Steven and daughter Melissa. There was no bar on his entry to the States; his visa was up to date. He used his own passport.’
Maguire read the single paragraph. ‘Raglan has gone to Disneyland?’
‘Disney World, sir. Disneyland is in California. He’s in Florida.’
‘Thank you, Jenny, I’m much the wiser for you telling me that. And the CIA wants to know why one of our assets is on their turf?’
‘Yes, sir. And given Raglan’s background, he isn’t the kind of man to go to a Disney theme park’ – she hesitated – ‘without an ulterior motive.’
‘You think he’s going to kill Mickey Mouse?’ said an exasperated Maguire.
Jenny Armstrong raised an eyebrow.
Maguire’s quip had fallen flat. ‘Raglan’s obviously there to have some time with the closest thing he’s got to a family, and no doubt they are still traumatized from Jeremy Carter’s murder. His widow and children will still be grieving. It’s not even been three years, Jenny. You don’t get over something like that quickly. If ever. Is Lewis Culver seriously questioning his presence on American soil?’
Armstrong remained silent.
Maguire sighed. ‘I have to give him something.’
She placed another sheet of paper in front of him. ‘I checked. Amanda Reeve-Carter has a friend, Lisa Mayfield. She and her son live in a gated community an hour from Orlando. The two women are good friends from some time back. Odds are that’s where they’re heading.’
Efficiency was a Jennifer Armstrong blessing. She left the room as Maguire picked up his desk phone and pressed a button on the console. The secure line between the intelligence officers on either side of the Atlantic clicked and then quietened.
‘Maguire,’ said Lewis Culver in a lilting South Carolina accent. Charm personified. His accent was described once as honey being poured over molasses. Lying beneath that southern charm was a man capable of incisive decision- making, unafraid to tell harsh truths to reluctant politicians, when his mellow tones would become as sharp as a stiletto slipped between the ribs.
‘Lewis, good to hear from you. What can I do for you?’ Maguire had no desire to prolong the niceties.
‘Caught you at a bad time?’
‘Head down in a report. I’m sorry, I don’t have much time.’
‘Understood. A quick one. One of your boys came through Orlando. Raglan. Barefaced. Used his legitimate passport. Is there anything I should know?’
‘Lewis, he’s a shared asset. Your people have used him before. No need to be at all concerned. He was involved in the Russian business here a while back.’
‘Yes. Look, he’s with Carter’s widow and kids. They’re staying with friends.’
‘That’s what I wanted to check. See if what he told passport control gels.’
‘Hang on a moment, Lewis. Let me look something up. See if I can help.’ Maguire tapped some random keys on his desktop keyboard, making sure the receiver picked up the sound. He put the phone back to his ear. ‘I checked our records. Known associates of Amanda Reeve-Carter. I have an address in front of me. Friend’s name is Mayfield, 2012 Cypress Avenue, Sunrise Lakes, Vero Beach. He’s taking Carter’s widow and kids to Disney. That’s all there is to it.’
Lewis Culver grunted. ‘That fits. OK. You’re certain that’s all it is? A family vacation?’
‘Absolutely,’ Maguire lied. Nothing was certain about Raglan. Except for Jennifer Armstrong’s suspicion.
Raglan was not the kind of man to go to a theme park.
I love that extract and of course, I’m now desperate to know what will happen next!
About David Gilman
David Gilman has had an impressive variety of jobs – from firefighter to professional photographer, from soldier in the Parachute Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon to a Marketing Manager for an international publisher. He has countless radio, television and film credits before turning to novels. From 2000 until 2009 he was a principal writer on A Touch Of Frost and nominated for a BAFTA.
He has lived and travelled the world gathering inspiration for his exotic adventure series along the way. Now, David is based in Devonshire, where he lives with his wife, Suzy Chiazzari.