Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Patriot by A.S. Bond (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Patriot by Author A.S. Bond!

Author Guest Post

Fact and Fiction in Patriot: A Brooke Kinley Adventure
By: A.S. Bond

The thing about fiction is that it is, well, made up. Of course. Especially so in genre fiction. The clue is in the name; fantasy, dystopian, horror. Novels in these genres are all about escapism of one sort or another, whether it’s the delicious shiver of fear or a dreamy ‘neverland’. Thrillers are slightly different; the ‘thrill’ comes not just from the suspense of ‘will our heroine save the day’, but also in the recognition that ‘it’ (nuclear Armageddon, pandemic virus, financial meltdown of whatever the theme of that novel may be) could happen.

This is especially so in Patriot, where it is not just themes that are based in reality, but actual events, too. Several have happened since I first wrote about them (and the book did have a long gestation of around three and half years, but that’s another story). There has been another one in the news just recently; the decision to keep a further 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan after the official drawdown at the end of 2014. Now the reasons are different - and Patriot certainly has no political agenda to push - but it is a thriller in which life has imitated art.

With my background in political science and my work as a journalist, speculating on and inventing possible scenarios in current affairs was pretty easy for me. You will notice that news reports are scattered throughout the novel. These are designed to heighten the sense of reality for the reader, both in style and content and apart from the specific details, almost any one of them could be found in any major daily newspaper at the moment.

What was more challenging for me was the technology side of the novel. A couple of readers have commented that aspects of this are a bit far-fetched. I have some bad news for you guys; it’s a lot closer to the truth than you realize.

In fact, there is only one small piece of technology in this book that isn’t absolutely accurate, which is the discovery of a piece of advanced military hardware that kicks off the story. Even this is about half-true; there are very similar weapons being used by America and its Allies right now. Only some of the details vary slightly. And - so far - the fact they have not fallen into enemy hands. I wonder how long it will be before some version of the horrific opening scene in Patriot involving an American apache helicopter, plays out for real?

Another thing that has -spookily- happened since I first wrote about it is a period of solar flares. These natural phenomena vary in intensity over a cycle of roughly 11 years or so. One of the characters in the book talks about this (and everything he says is accurate scientifically). Since I wrote it, we have passed through another cycle and I woke up one morning to hear a news commentator talking about the threat to our electronic networks from solar flares!

Another a threat to our survival is the weapon of mass destruction that features in the book. This weapon, as described, is entirely accurate. The detail of how it is brought into America is the part I made up (no spoilers here!), but the thing you should worry about is the fact that this could also be carried in something as small as a rucksack. The effects would be more contained, but this particular threat is something on which many military and science researchers around the world are working, right now.

The other big truth in the novel is the ability of governments and their intelligence services to ‘listen in’ on the ‘phone calls of private citizens anywhere in the world. I knew this was possible when I wrote the novel - and the real network of listening stations is an open secret - but it was Edward Snowden who told the world the reality and extent of the snooping. After I’d written about it...

For many of the details in the book, I went to great lengths to ensure they were correct. This included talking to aircraft and marine engineers, studying plans for motor yachts and, one of my favourite pastimes, poring over maps to ensure the locations I use in the book are accurate. Brooke can walk from Foggy Bottom metro to the Kennedy Centre in ten minutes and small planes can crash in Labrador and never be seen again. The reality of the settings in the book is another topic, but they are all places I know personally (except Afghanistan).

In fact, the only fictional things in Patriot are the characters and the plot itself. Everything else is true. Now there’s a shiver down your spine!

About The Author

A.S Bond is the pen name of Alexandra Pratt, an internationally acclaimed travel writer and journalist. Alexandra is also the author of six previous books, including Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories (HarperCollins, 2002), which is the story of her canoe expedition to Labrador that later inspired much of the ‘action’ in Patriot and The Day The Island Exploded, which is the story of her father-in-law’s real life escape from an erupting volcanic island in Antarctica. Now married and based in the west of England, Alexandra works as a freelance journalist and also writes adventure thrillers under the pen name A.S.Bond. Patriot is an award-winning thriller, which debuted at #13 in its category on Amazon. It is the first title in her series of Brooke Kinley Adventures.

For more information and the latest news, visit


Book Review

Patriot by A.S. Bond
Book 1: A Brooke Kinley Adventure Series
Publisher: Castle Books
Publication Date: April 24, 2014
Format: Paperback - 346 pages
             Kindle - 422 KB
             Nook - 348 KB
ISBN: 978-1497519541
ASIN: B00JV60S88
Genre: Adventure / Political Thriller


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book Tours.

Book Description:

What would you do for your country? In Afghanistan, a US Army Patrol is devastated by an enemy with sophisticated weaponry, while in D.C., Pentagon staffer Scott Jenson tips off the ambitious young reporter Brooke Kinley about a billionaire businessman’s involvement in terrorism. But why is the White House determined to protect this businessman, and why does the answer seem to lie in the Canadian wilderness? In a dangerous journey to the remotest parts of the world and the darkest corners of men’s hearts, Brooke races to prevent a catastrophic attack on America, but can she uncover the real traitor?

Book Excerpt:


“Scramble Scramble Scramble!” The call came at the start of the shift. For Captain Brad Jones and his crew, every trip into combat began with those three words and a siren, now yowling over the desert airfield. Barely seven minutes later, Brad guided his AH-64E Apache gunship into the air. In the front of the tandem cockpit, Brad’s friend, Gunner Chuck Willows, sat at the controls of the Target Acquisition and Designation System.

This was a mission they had flown several times; racing to the scene of an ambush to take out a Taliban position.

“Be advised, we have a small arms fire report and three explosions.” The voice of Joe Blake, Detachment Command back in the Tactical Operations Centre, crackled in Brad’s ear. “And there are two civilian journalists embedded with the platoon.”

“Copy that.” Two miles out from the target, Brad flew the Apache above the bed of a dried up wadi. Lower than much of the surrounding countryside, he knew it would be invisible to the enemy until the last possible moment. The ground flashed by, a herd of goats fled in terror and a small boy waved a stick at the helicopter. Tomorrow’s enemy, thought Brad as he banked to the left, following the dry water course.

“Half a mile, Captain.” Chuck called out the range to target.

“Going visual.” Brad eased up the Apache to a hundred feet. Ahead, he saw smoking ruins of an Afghan compound sheltering the American patrol and the flash of gunfire from insurgents on other side of the valley.

“This is Crazy Horse One Seven, we have forty individuals with weapons, two hundred meters from the compound, over.” reported Chuck to Command, reading the screens.

“Crew, we have personnel west of your position, over.” replied Command.

“We have visual on the target. No strobes. Repeat, no strobes. Confirm position of friendlies, over.”

“Roger that. Friendlies going green, over.”

Moments later, clouds of luminous green smoke billowed up from the compound. Smoke grenades.

“Copy that Command, we have visual on the friendlies. Be advised we’re gonna set up an inbound run, over.” Brad levelled out the chopper.

“Range Mike Bravo 565888617.”

“Mike Bravo 56888617 copy that.”

“Clear to fire.”


A staccato of 30mm rounds from the Apache’s cannon sliced into the fields and the enemy fire over the compound lessened. “Good shooting.” said Command, as Brad banked away from the immediate danger zone.

“We got multiple enemy positions here.” Chuck watched the screen and counted the heat signatures of at least two dozen more Taliban hiding in the fields. “This is gonna go high risk. There’s a group with rocket launchers at four hundred meters.”

“You got auto range on it?” asked Brad.


Chuck pressed a button and Brad felt the deck tremble as a Hellfire missile shot away from the Apache. On the other side of the valley, the missile exploded a Taliban position, taking a rocky outcrop with it and leaving a huge crater in the hillside. The smell of cordite filtered through the cockpit.

Immediately, Brad swung away the gunship, taking it out of RPG range. Flying this low and slow made them easy targets.

“We’re taking fire from the north!” shouted Chuck, as if on cue. Red lights blazed across the central warning panel in the Apache.

“Missile lock!”

“What the hell?!” muttered Brad, as he instinctively pulled the helicopter into a hard evasive turn, raising the collective for full power, and pushing forward the cyclic to gain speed. Flares and chaff deployed automatically from pods, designed to confuse and misdirect any heat or radar seeking missile.

“I got visual on the launch. Incoming – get us outta here, man!”

“I’m on it.” Brad focused on flying the chopper as hard and as fast as he could towards the wadi.

The missile flew an almost perfect circle, 2000 feet above the helicopter; its internal microprocessors comparing the heat and the electromagnetic signatures from its target with the data profile in its systems. As though making a conscious decision, the missile banked over and descended towards the Apache.

“It’s on our ass, man.” reported Chuck. “Do your thing.”

“Where the fuck did the Taliban get an SAM?” Brad shouted as he drove the Apache down into the wadi, hoping to lose the missile in the tight turns and confusion of the terrain.

Behind them and closing, the missile passed through the cloud of metallic chaff, its sensors registering them as a possible target, but the electromagnetic signature detectors instantly overrode the signal. The missile pressed on, homing in on the fleeing Apache.

Brad, his hands clenched and sweating on the controls, took a bend, and glimpsed a group of insurgents hit the ground below him. A small – a very small - part of his brain registered a flash of bright blonde hair among them, then he saw the missile take the bend too.

“I can’t lose it – fuck, what is that thing? Chuck, on my mark, hit it with all the CM we have left and brace yourself. I’m gonna try something.”

“Do it.”

Brad gave the Apache full power and headed straight towards the high bluff edge.

“3,2,1 MARK.” Chuck nailed the countermeasures button and braced himself for the move. Brad yanked back on the controls, pointing the gunship’s nose at the sky and putting it in a high vertical climb, more like a fighter plane than a helicopter. Struggling against the effects of the G force required to pull this unconventional manoeuvre, he prayed the missile would lose their trail in the counter measures and impact on the wall of the wadi.

At the same instant the missile passed through the chaff and easily made the turn up and out. The vertical climb slowed the helicopter and the missile closed the gap until it was within a meter or two of its quarry. The onboard proximity censors matched the helicopter’s EM signature and the warhead detonated. Brad and Chuck were briefly aware of an intense light, before a wave of heat and pressure enveloped them.

The Apache hurtled into the sky, its rotor blades spiralling futilely before they gouged into the sand. The fuselage continued to somersault upwards, until it seemed finally to surrender, and smashed into the hot, dry earth below.

My Book Review:

In Patriot, the first book of the Brooke Kinley Adventure series, author A.S. Bond weaves a riveting political thriller that transports the reader all over the world from Afghanistan to Washington D.C. to the Canadian Wilderness as Daily Post staff reporter Brooke Kinley embarks on a journey to uncover a traitor promoting terrorism before another deadly attack occurs.

Author A.S. Bond easily draws the reader into this fast-paced story that has enough intrigue, tension, suspense, danger, secrets, conspiracy, military action and espionage, terrorism, and nail biting adventure that is sure to keep the reader sitting on the edge of their seats. The author calls upon her profession as a journalist and adventure seeker to provide the reader with a heart racing novel that engages the reader to follow Brooke on her dangerous journey, while keeping them guessing the true identity of the traitor and their motives. Patriot is a gripping tale that has a true sense of realism that could easily be taken directly from the headlines of any daily newspaper.

With a large cast of realistic characters; dramatic dialogue and interactions; and a true-to-life pulse racing storyline that provides much food for thought, Patriot is a must read for fans of conspiracy theories and political adventure thrillers.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, June 9
The Crime Scene – Book Review

Tuesday, June 10
Evie/Bookish – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight & Excerpt

Friday, June 13
I Heart Reading – Book Spotlight

Tuesday, June 17
Book Angels – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight & Excerpt / Book Review

Friday, June 20
The Writer’s Life – Author Interview

Monday, June 23
Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight & Excerpt / Book Review

Tuesday, June 24
The Top Shelf – Book Review

Wednesday, June 25
Book Readers-Mum’s Writings Mystery & More – Book Review
Gabina49′s Blog – Author Interview (Part 1)

Thursday, June 26
Gabina49′s Blog – Author Interview (Part 2)

Friday, June 27
Home On Deranged – Author Guest Post / Book Spotlight & Excerpt / Book Review

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