Towards the start of my new Lissa Blackwood thriller called ‘Evil Eye’, her boss, Peter Carson, faces the challenge of knowing that on that day he will be the target of an assassination attempt.
Now fifty eight years old, as a young man Carson had originally intended to train as a chemical engineer. However, in his final year at Cambridge he was recruited by the army to train as an intelligence officer. Carson found his natural niche in the army. He rapidly developed a ruthless flexibility, instinct and cunning on missions that eventually made him a highly decorated, front line, special forces Colonel.
His record and total devotion to the Crown, regardless of party politics, spoke for itself, and three Prime Ministers ago he was appointed as ‘R’, the head of SIG, remaining there ever since.
Where the security of the realm is concerned there are the MI5/MI6 assets and missions that sit above the line, and then there is the ‘Special Investigations Group’. SIG is the Prime Minister’s covert intelligence unit, answerable only to the PM’s conscience.
Now Carson is facing a real life or death dilemma. An attempt on the Queen’s life was barely thwarted by his actions and he has just been warned that the same group are seeking to kill him. The warning comes from a potential defector within the terrorist group. Carson isn’t told exactly how the attempt will be made, just that they are relying on his normal routine to pull it off. Carson still has to function as the head of SIG but is starting to suspect that the terrorists have a mole in his organisation:
“I suspect everything and everyone,” – he tells Janet Audlish, one of the few people he feels he can trust.
“I’ll be back in two hours to ask about your progress on the searches. Get this sorted by then, eh? My next appointment will be at the Palace to talk with Her Majesty, and I suspect they already know that. If I was going to kill me, that’s when I’d do it.The irony would make up for some of their failure at killing her. The game’s on as soon as I leave VX.”
London is a crowded city and the attack could happen anywhere..
Carson is relying on Audlish to work with SIG’s Quartermaster (another trusted individual, they served and fought together), to find a way for him to be seen heading towards his meeting with the Queen and survive the attack he knows will be coming.
I’m not going to spoil how that all plays out, but when he leaves the SIG headquarters in the SIS Building at Vauxhall Cross, heading across Lambeth Bridge and onto Horseferry Road, he is placing his life in their hands…
It was fun to walk in his shoes in London, seeing the places that I had imagined in real life, wondering how it would feel if you were Peter Carson, perhaps crossing Lambeth Bridge for the last time? …
All pictures (c) Lee Russell, 2018, except the Union Jack backdrop to Tower Bridge which is public domain (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/762_photo/2233328580 )