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Saturday, 30 May 2015

'Behind The Text’ 22 Competitors

Behind The Text’ Part 22_Competitors

Two Of A Trade Seldom Agree.’ (Proverb)


Jonas Forbes in four of this series faces opposition which might be termed ‘competition’ – regarding either securing  or retaining control of a person or object. Clearly this involves getting away with what he’s got, which may mean facing the same people on another occasion.
In ‘Scrambling South’ (Book 3) and ‘Find Bormann’ (Book 8) Jonas faces an Israeli Mossad unit, and on both occasions Shiran Moshkovich & Barak Sternberg take part. In Egypt Jonas on finding  a cipher  is also challenged by the Mukhabarat (Egyptian Security Police): while in his hunt for Bormann to recover documents the extra danger is supplied by Bormann’s SS protectors. In both cases Jonas is captured but manages to escape with the goods.

So why did I include Mossad twice? Because they’re a very effective organisation and, in both cases, they'd provide ideal competitors for the target – in the first a list of Israeli agents in Egypt and in the second Martin Bormann, a prominent Nazi fugitive. I should add that, in the latter case, Mossad don’t realise Jonas is involved until the very end – and after they’ve virtually wiped out the SS unit!
In ‘Lies Hunt in Packs’ (Book 10) and in ‘HAVOK Goes To Moscow’(Book 13) Jonas challenges the KGB, which include Col. Alexandra Tolstoy & Lt./ Capt. Valentina Boykov. The latter has the unenviable distinction of interviewing Jonas twice, without recognising him. In both books the KGB are on home ground - trying to prevent Jonas smuggling out a dissident in the Book 10 & supplying a cipher to dissidents in Book 13. In both cases they fail. The KGB play a significant role in ‘Dare Call It Treason’ (Book 2) where they work as much with Jonas as their rivals the GRU (Military Intelligence). The latter help Jonas in ‘Dragon-Spit’ (Book 7) While dealing with Soviet contacts I should add the GRU sniper, Elena Valentina Arentsky who saves Jonas’s life on 3 occasions. She appears in ‘Dare Call It Treason’ (Book 2), ‘Lies Hunt in Packs’ (Book 10) & ‘Endgame At Watergate’ (Book 16) and was the cousin of Natasha Rykov (see Posts 6 & 23).

Why should I repeat characters in different books? Some readers (like myself) if they spot this situation, may look forward to seeing how Round 2 will work out with extra relish. Hopefully there’d have been changes on both sides to add interest for such discerning readers. However, this device shouldn’t be overdone. In some series I've read  the same opponent occurs so often I start questioning how both sides can survive to fight another day.
Competitors differ from villains because there often develops some degree of mutual respect.

Bob Hyslop

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