I’m thrilled to have Gwen Plano visiting here today to tell us about her exciting new book. I’ve included my five-star review at the end of the post 🙂
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Denise, and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. I’m super excited to see it published on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To celebrate, the Kindle edition is on sale at 99¢ through December.
So, what’s the book about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.
I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys.
The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.
Photographers commissioned to capture the Aurora Borealis in the skies above Norway, notice several private jets landing at the Harstad-Narvik Airport. Surprised by this development, they photograph the jets and notify investigative journalists, who in turn, inform military authorities.
At Begert Air Force Base, Sergeant Gruner focuses on his assignment: an in-depth explanation as to why five luxury jets—two Bombardiers BD-700, two Gulfstreams, and a Falcon 7x—landed in Lofoten, Norway, the week prior. The General expects Gruner to uncover possible links to the recent assassination attempts.
As a first step, Gruner contacts his counterpart at the Royal Norwegian Air Force station in Evenes. He explains the reason for his call and sends the digital photographs in question.
The Norwegian Airman says, “Well, I know that a week ago, Madam Edel Berven contacted us to explain she’d invited guests to her husband’s seventieth-birthday party. Since her guests needed to fly into Evenes, she asked for landing clearance at the Harstad/Narvik Airport and explained that her private helicopter would take the guests to their mountain estate. We approved and thought no more of it. Now you suggest there may be something nefarious involved?”
“I have nothing concrete, but it’s an unusual gathering, don’t you think?”
“Maybe, maybe not.”
“I trust your Commander implicitly. Has he raised any concerns or particular events that he wants you and your team to watch out for?”
“He mentioned that the Americans believe that some rich people might have formed a cabal.”
Gruner smiles with relief. “Right. We think they might be responsible for a bunch of assassinations and attempted killings.”
The Airman gasps. “It’s hard to believe that Madame Berven would be involved in such a thing. She’s a leading supporter of the arts in our area. Highly respected. Nevertheless, I’ll request the flight plans for the jets. Perhaps points of origin will help resolve this mystery. Give me two hours.”
“Perfect. Call me at this number when you’re ready.”
“Ha det bra. Goodbye!”
True to his word, the Norwegian Airman returns the call within the hour. “Billionaires associated with the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the pharmaceutical industry, and technology, own the jets in question. Mr. Berven is a wealthy man. It’s entirely possible that this gathering was, indeed, a birthday party. But, then again …”
Gruner asks, “What are you thinking?”
“Don’t birthday parties usually include family members and the spouses of guests? There were none—the Berven children didn’t attend, and the owners of those jets didn’t bring their partners. To add fuel to the fire, I checked our files, and Mr. Berven was born in December, not March.”
Gruner gasps, “You’re serious? So, if Berven blew out candles, it wasn’t on a cake? This changes everything.”
The Airman sounds alarmed, “There’s more. Two days before the arrival of Berven’s guests, a Gulfstream landed. It departed at the same time as the others. We’re looking into its ownership, but we know one thing—the point of origin for his flight to Lofoten was Beijing.”
“The Culmination” is the third book in the Contract Series. I loved all the books, but this one topped them. It touched me on a level of reality and fear, bringing the idea of hope in our current cold social climate. It starts after the second book and an assassination attempt. There is a group determined to cause mayhem and stop anyone in their way, including heads of state. There’s not only exciting action but developing relationships and political intrigue. I found a lot of what was going on in the story relevant for current times. Where Ms. Plano took this story is a place where I could imagine the right things being done in the middle of chaos. I loved the American Vice President with her logic and heart. Beautifully written and thought-provoking with scenarios all too familiar, some heartbreaking, and some tender. This book not only scared me but offered an optimistic option at the same time. I highly recommend it and the whole series. Five-Stars!