#Extract Appointment in Tehran by James Stejskal @Casemate_UK

I’m delighted today to bring you an extract from Appointment in Tehran by James Stejskal which will be published by Casemate Publishing in hardback on 15th October and is available to pre-order here. It will appeal to those who like plenty of action in their historical fiction and its subject matter is incredibly timely given recent world events.


Appointment in TehranAbout the Book

When radical Iranian students seize the U.S. Embassy compound in Tehran and take over fifty diplomats hostage the U.S. President has to negotiate with a government that wants only to humiliate the United States. When talks fail, the President must turn to the military to bring the Americans home by force.

As preparations are made for an audacious rescue, an American intelligence officer hides alone in a Tehran safehouse with a secret. He is protecting a powerful weapon known as the Perses Device, which is now at risk of being captured and employed against the United States. The Agency Director orders that it must be brought out at all costs.

But as a small American team clandestinely enters Tehran to lead the way for the rescue force, a traitor spills the secret and KGB Spetsnaz operatives begin their own search for the weapon.

At the last minute, one more American is added to the advance team – his sole mission is to get the Agency officer and the Perses device to safety. When the rescue mission fails, only two Americans are left to run the gauntlet of enemy agents and get the weapon out. Getting in was easy…

Format: Hardcover (304 pages)          Publisher: Casemate Publishing
Publication date: 15th October 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction , Military, Action

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Extract from Appointment in Tehran

In his apartment several blocks from the university campus, Abdul Mezad knelt on a carpet facing the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina and prayed. He was one of the few people in the city who knew what was about to happen. Although the Shah had been overthrown and the revolutionary republic proclaimed months earlier, there was still an infuriating presence in the city: the den of spies – the American Embassy – that housed the very same snakes who had installed the Shah onto his Peacock Throne. It had been a quarter-century, but many Iranians still felt the insult deeply – that the Americans could overthrow their elected government and install a puppet Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It was a brazen act by insolent foreigners who knew nothing about the true nature of Iran and its people. The infidel cared only for Iran’s oil.

After his prayers, Abdul walked in the drizzling rain through the stirring city. The early morning commuters passing him would have assumed he was a student, dressed in faded jeans and a loose sweater topped off with an olive-drab fatigue jacket he had bought cheaply in a market long ago. But anyone who looked at him closely might have reconsidered, not that Abdul cared. The intensity of a zealot on a Jihad burned in his eyes, his vision reduced to tunnel vision, focused only on his destination and little else. He had a mission, and if he was to be a martyr this day, so be it.

It was cool, as November mornings in Tehran often were. To the north, the Alborz mountains were shrouded in a blanket of gray cloud. The day had started out quietly enough for a city that had been tense for months as internecine squabbles, demonstrations, and street fights broke out across the country between the moderates, the communists, and Islamists vying for influence. The hard-liners of the Council of the Islamic Revolution had only tenuous control.

That would soon change.

The shops were still shuttered. Despite the dampness in the air, the smell of barbari baking in the wood- and coal-burning ovens wafted through the neighborhood. Abdul ignored his hunger; there would be time enough for food later. Walking with determination, he covered the few kilometers to his place of appointment rapidly. He turned into Taleqani Street and, in front of him, he saw his goal. Abdul strode on, over the glistening, damp concrete and stopped outside the embassy gates where crowds had started to gather. He glared at the Americans inside the fence who looked back at him with a stare that conveyed their sense that this day would be unlike any they had experienced before. The Marine Security Guards gathered in small groups near the gates, the front entrance, and even on the roof as the embassy staff hurried to their desks inside the Chancery. They were worried; they were too few to contain the threatening crowd that gathered beyond the fence.

As the city slowly awakened, the crowd outside grew to hundreds, then thousands of young people outside the 27-acre embassy compound. As the rain tapered off, the throngs grew, made up mostly of students who had not attended school since the uprising had begun the previous January. Most believed they were there for just a peaceful protest, but the rain had dampened their spirits. Wistfully, some thought of going home, out of the damp, to enjoy a cup of tea and some savory cakes. They wanted the Americans out of their new Islamic republic, but had not come with violence in mind. They were not aware of the real plan, the plan a small group, the “Brethren,” had in mind. Today, they would finally swing the balance of power over to Ruhollah Khomeini.

Abdul was aware of the plan. He was one of the “Brethren,” a true insider. They were the core element, even closer knit than the “Islamic Brothers.” They were the vanguard of the revolution. While the placards and shouts outside the compound only demanded that the Americans leave Iran, the Brethren had other ideas. They wanted to consolidate the Imam’s power and eliminate rival militias. By seizing the embassy, they would not only break the links between the supporters of the provisional government, who wanted a “democratic Iran,” and the Americans, they would also destroy the power of the leftists who remained a threat to the Islamic revolution.

While hundreds of young men and women kept the Marines busy on the perimeter of the facility, others climbed over the barrier fence and engaged in a tug of war over the halyards of the flagpole. These distractions occupied the Marine guards. Unseen in the crowd, a small group of men pulled bolt cutters from bags and severed the chains that secured the perimeter gates. With that last physical and psychological barrier breached, the masses outside were easily pushed to storm the compound.


James StejskalAbout the Author

James Stejskal is an author, military historian, and conflict archaeologist. To gain inspiration and research his writings, he spent 35 years serving with the US Army Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency in interesting places like Africa, Europe, the Balkans, the Near and Far East.

He is the author of A Question of Time, a Cold War military & espionage thriller, as well as the non-fiction books Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the US Army’s Elite, 1956–1990 and Masters of Mayhem: Lawrence of Arabia and the British Military Mission to the Hejaz.

He lives in Virginia with his wife Wanda and an Anatolian Shepherd named Cheena. (Photo/bio credit: Goodreads author page)

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#Extract The Lady in the Veil by Allie Cresswell

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Lady in the Veil by Allie Cresswell. The book continues the story of the Talbot family who featured in Tall Chimneys and The House in the Hollow but works equally well as a standalone. I’m delighted to be able to bring you an extract from The Veiled Lady but, before I do, let Allie explain a bit more about the inspiration for the character of Mrs Quince who features in it.

“My new novel, The Lady in the Veil, is set in the year 1835, post Regency but pre-Victorian. Its predecessor, The House in the Hollow, was set firmly in the Georgian era, and as such I delighted in emulating an Austenesque style. But it seemed to me that this later period called for the addition of the colour and exuberance demonstrated by later writers. Charles Dickens’ Sketches by Boz was published in 1836, with The Pickwick Papers following a year later. Dickens embraced characters of what Austen would call ‘low degree’ who are nevertheless charming, humorous, appealing and salutary. I came up with Mrs Quince, a lady who makes her living by letting rooms in her little house.”


The Lady in the VeilAbout the Book

What secrets hide beneath the veil?

When her mother departs for a tour of the continent, Georgina is sent from the rural backwaters to stay with her cousin, George Talbot, in London. The 1835 season is at its height, but Georgina is determined to attend neither balls nor plays, and to eschew Society. She hides her face beneath an impenetrable veil. Her extraordinary appearance only sets off gossip and speculation as to her identity. Who is the mysterious lady beneath the veil?

Format: ebook (270 pages)             Publisher:
Publication date: 13th June 2021   Genre: Historical Fiction

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Extract from The Lady in the Veil by Allie Cresswell

Mrs Quince was the lady of the house, the widow-woman to whom Arthur had earlier referred. Her husband had been the captain of a river boat, trading goods and passengers up and down the Thames. Whatever stories of seafaring adventure and distant shores the various mementoes of the room suggested, they had not been Captain Quince’s. He had never travelled beyond East Tilbury in pursuance of his trade and had died a relatively young man. For the twenty or so years since his demise Mrs Quince had supported herself by accommodating lodgers in her cottage – usually sailors – and it was to these guests that her collection of maritime accoutrements could be attributed.

That Mrs Quince had been, in her youth, a lady of remarkable beauty, was unarguable. Popular opinion in Rotherhithe reported it so and Mrs Quince herself was far from contradicting what her neighbours were so adamantly certain of. Indeed, if anything, she rather thought that their protestations did not go quite far enough, for to say that she had been a beauty in her youth almost suggested that her youth was a thing now ended. What’s more it did not, in her opinion, give sufficient recognition to the significant degree of her current beauty. It may be that her eyes were not as sharp as they had once been, or that the brilliance of her little square of looking glass had become somewhat tarnished, but where others now saw hair that was greying and thin, to Mrs Quince it was as thick and lustrous as it had ever been. Her skin, which an unkind observer might have described as mottled was, to her, as peach-like as could be. A very dull-eyed person may have discerned a little hairiness about the chin and upper lip, or mistaken a natural beauty-spot for a wart, and someone with no knowledge of the matter could have described the perfect plumpness of Mrs Quince’s figure as fat, but Mrs Quince could be compassionate about their errors, telling herself that swine could not help their nature and she would certainly not waste her pearls before them.

Part and parcel of Mrs Quince’s charming appearance was an ineffable elegance of manner and an unswerving pretention to being a lady. Whichever hand had been at work polishing and scrubbing during the day, beating carpets and brushing cushions, carrying coals, making stew and providing all the homely comforts that had greeted Arthur on his return from work, there could be no misapprehension of that hand belonging to Mrs Quince. She, it was to be inferred, spent her day at ladylike pursuits whilst a hired drudge did the donkey work. The drudge in the case was Pansy, a slip of girl, small-boned and big-eyed, timid and altogether understanding of her place.


Allie CresswellAbout the Author

Allie was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil. Allie recalls: ‘I was about 8 years old. Our teacher asked us to write about a family occasion and I launched into a detailed, harrowing and entirely fictional account of my grandfather’s funeral. I think he died very soon after I was born; certainly I have no memory of him and definitely did not attend his funeral, but I got right into the details, making them up as I went along (I decided he had been a Vicar, which I spelled ‘Vice’). My teacher obviously considered this outpouring very good bereavement therapy so she allowed me to continue with the story on several subsequent days, and I got out of maths and PE on a few occasions before I was rumbled.’

She went on to do a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London. She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria.

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