by debut author Dan Mayland whose title, The
Colonel’s Mistake, is the first of a globetrotting new thriller series that
takes readers on an unforgettable ride into the shadows of the world’s most
volatile region, where the good, the bad, and the brutal play a deadly chess
game of global espionage.
Azerbaijan, CIA operations officer Daria Buckingham is arrested for a heinous
crime. Her former boss, retired CIA station chief Mark Sava, is sure she’s
innocent and tries to help her out—landing him in the middle of the new Great
Game, an espionage war over oil that has China, Iran, and the United States
clawing at each other’s throats. The first half of The Colonel’s Mistakeis set in Azerbaijan. Here’s why:
Oil. Azerbaijan’s got gobs of it. The
capital city of Baku stinks of it. There are oil derricks in the city, and vast
nightmarish oilfields—many in use since the late 1800s—on the outskirts.
The Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan’s 450-mile
coast looks east over the Caspian, which makes for stunning sunrises marred
only by all the massive offshore oil rigs that dot the horizon.
The New Great Game. That’s what people
are calling the fight over oil in the Caspian region, where Russia, China,
Iran, the US, and Europe are all clawing at each other’s throats over oil. Tiny
Azerbaijan is sandwiched between Iran and Russia, so it’s right in the middle
of the fight.
Fire. In addition to oil, Azerbaijan
has lots of natural gas—some of which leaks naturally out of the ground. Throw
a guy with a match into the mix, and before you know it you’ve got a fire that
never goes out. One hill north of Baku has been burning since the 1950s.
Corruption. On the World Corruption
Index, Azerbaijan clocks in at a dismal 143, between Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
Mud volcanoes. They’re like real
volcanoes, only smaller, and they spew mud instead of lava. Sometimes they
explode. There’s a whole bunch of them in Azerbaijan, right next to this
Porous Border with Iran. Much of what
used to be Azerbaijan is now part of Iran. Azeris on both sides of the border
like to visit each other. That makes for a border that’s easy to sneak across.
The KGB. Azerbaijan was a Soviet state
until 1991. The new Azeri version of the KGB works out of the same building the
Soviet version did. There’s a reason for that.
The BTC. That’s the name of a huge oil
pipeline that transports Azeri oil from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Sea.
Stilt roads. The Soviets built strange
wood-stilt roads that snake as far as the eye can see out into the shallow
waters of the Caspian. Thirty miles off the coast, there’s a spider-web tangle
of nearly two hundred miles of these roads, now rotting, all clustered around a
wretched Soviet oil camp.
All of the above play a role in The Colonel’s Mistake now available on Kindle and in paperback.