Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop on Paul E. Hardisty’s The Evolution of Fear blog tour. As a reader I love strong main characters, but I always find myself questioning their background and why they make the decisions they choose to make. I asked the exact same questions about Hardisty’s, Claymore Straker – see what Hardisty had to say. But first, here’s what the book’s about.
Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian Mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit.
Hardisty on Claymore Straker – A Character Born of Conflict
Claymore Straker, the protagonist of the CWA Creasy New dagger Award short-listed The Abrupt Physics of Dying, and its sequel, The Evolution of Fear, is a character born of and shaped by conflict. The story of his life is punctuated by three little-known regional conflicts: in Africa, in Yemen, and in Cyprus.
At nineteen Clay joined the South African Army and served in the notorious Border War in Angola, fighting the dreaded Rool Gevdar, the red danger – the three-decade long communist insurgency in southwest Africa. The things he saw and did during his two years on the front line of that war (in 1980 and 1981) have left him emotionally and physically scarred. He suffers from severe post-traumatic stress, and his experiences have produced within him a deep well of regret and a profound distrust for authority. A prequel to the series, Reconciliation for the Dead, due out in 2017 (I am working on it now), will explore those years in detail, and Clay’s attempts fifteen years later to somehow atone for his actions through the post-apartheid South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Thirteen years after the war, Clay is in Yemen trying to forget his past and build a career as an engineer working for a western oil company. He is there, in one of the most isolated and least-developed places on the planet, to forget. But it is a time of strife and upheaval on the Arabian Peninsula. Southern rebels are vying with the Sana’a based Government for control of the rich southern oil fields. It is 1994, and civil war threatens. Everywhere, people are taking sides. This is the setting for first novel of the Claymore Straker story, The Abrupt Physics of Dying. When Clay’s driver and good friend is kidnapped by so-called Islamic militants, Clay is forced to investigate the source of a mysterious illness killing villagers living near a major oil production facility. As open warfare breaks out, Clay is thrust into a conflict he neither wants nor understands. Bewildered by shifting allegiances, never knowing who he can trust, Clay meets Rania, a troubled young Arab journalist who helps him dissect and then piece together the mystery unfolding in the desert.
The sequel, The Evolution of Fear, finds Clay two months later alone in hiding, a fugitive of the law, hunted by the Russian oligarchs who he was forced to confront in Abrupt Physics. But he is not the same man he was. His experiences in Yemen and his burgeoning love for Rania are cutting through the hate that has governed his soul for more than a decade. But with this awakening comes a vulnerability he had long since buried. As the assassins close in, Clay must risk everything to find Rania. He tracks her to Cyprus – the “island of love” – where she has become embroiled in the simmering conflict between Greek and Turk that has defined the island’s history for a century. Divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island, Cyprus is now a nation split down the middle by a no-man’s land of barbed wire, sandbagged bunkers and aging minefields. Distrust and suspicion break out into open violence as all of the threads of his past converge, and Clay soon learns he has more to protect, and more to lose, than he had ever imagined. Clay’s capacity to evolve, to learn from the conflict swirling around him, to overcome the hate within himself, become the true test of his character, and will define his life in a way nothing that has come before ever.
Many thanks to Paul E. Hardisty for giving such wonderful insight into Clay’s past and present struggles. And I’d also like to thank Orenda Books (Karen, you’re wonderful!) for sending me a copy and adding to my overflowing bookshelf.
Want to know more?
Visit the other stops on the blog tour for more information about Paul E. Hardisty and The Evolution of Fear.
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