Some thoughts about THE BONE HARVEST, just posted on Amazon.
“You don’t necessarily have any specific object in mind when you start a book, but I knew going in that THE BONE HARVEST would be about the nuts and bolts – the gear, the manpower, the physical resources – what it takes to mount an actual spy operation. My model was a now-abandoned listening post on the outskirts of Berlin, in Marienfelde, near the sentry wire where the East German guard posts once stood. There was a time when the world seemed divided into two armed camps, static and unyielding, written in stone, but these days that’s become the fossil record. The world is less predictable now, the targets better hidden. The mission, though, is no different than it was. Reading someone’s handwriting, spinning gold from flax, turning water into wine. Giving shape to the narrative, in other words, an extended metaphor.”
Okay, the extended metaphor business is me being mischievous, but the obvious case can be made that both intelligence work and writing are each a process of extrapolation. Sometimes there ain’t much to go by. Or the materials themselves are too brittle, and won’t carry the weight of the evidence. There’s a structure, a working hypothesis, something you can hang your hat on. As my pal John Crowley once remarked, ideas are easy, execution is hard.