Friday, June 29, 2018

Virtual Book Tour: The Children's Game by Max Karpov @maxvkarpov @RABTBookTours




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Thriller/Espionage/Spy
Date Published: April 2018
Publisher: Arcade/Skyhorse Publishing

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A frighteningly plausible, fast-paced thriller about a Russian cyberattack on America, involving fake news and anonymous hackers.

The CIA has learned that the Kremlin is about to launch a sophisticated propaganda operation aimed at discrediting and disrupting the United States and ultimately restoring Russia to great nation status. Intercepted intelligence suggests that the operation will hinge on a single, breaking news event in Eastern Europe, supported by a sustained campaign of disinformation and cyberattacks. Code-named the "Children’s Game"--a chess stratagem that leads to checkmate in four moves--it was probably conceived by a Russian billionaire and former FSB officer named Andrei Turov. For years Turov has been developing the infrastructure for a new kind of warfare that exploits weaknesses in western democracies and manipulates public opinion. His organization offers the Kremlin plausible deniability.

But the United States has its own secret weapon: Christopher Niles, a former CIA intelligence officer, who understands Turov's ambitions and capabilities. It falls to him and his small team--composed of his journalist half-brother Jon, a special forces operative he would trust with his life, and Anna Carpenter, a resourceful US senator with deep roots in the intelligence community--to unravel Turov's plot and restore truth to a world spiraling into chaos.


Advance Praise

“Max Karpov has produced a cleverly conceived thriller that … captures perfectly the mentality of Vladimir Putin’s Russia … And, on top of it, the book is near impossible to put down. A must read.” – Michael Morell, Former Acting Director and Deputy Director, CIA


Interview with Max Karpov

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in THE CHILDREN’S GAME?

The book is told from six different, often conflicting, points of view – characters from both the U.S. and Russia.  One of the themes of the book is the fluid nature of truth and reality. Most of the characters are sorting through disinformation, trying to decide what’s real and what isn’t. But reality often is just a point of view. The book features several characters associated with the U.S. government who consider Russia an enemy; there are also Russian characters who feel that way about the States. From these points of view emerges a war narrative – about a war of perceptions.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

I also have a mystery series (written as James Lilliefors) featuring homicide investigator Amy Hunter and Methodist Pastor Luke Bowers. The books are set in a fictitious town in Maryland. The first two, THE PSALMIST and THE TEMPEST, were written before THE CHILDREN’S GAME (published by HarperCollins). I am finishing the third one now, which has been in the works for while.

How long would you say it takes you to write a book?

Usually a year, if I’m not doing anything else. THE CHILDREN’S GAME, though, took three years, largely because of research (and some re-writing caused by changing world events). I started it in 2014, and finished it in 2017.

What is your favorite childhood book?

Treasure Island. Also: The Hardy Boys. The Little Prince. Marvel Comics.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from THE CHILDREN’S GAME who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.

Probably Christopher Niles, the lead character. Chris has experienced a lot in his 40-some years. He’s lived around the world, and had his share of adventures, relationships, mistakes, disappointments. His reward has been a tough wisdom, which makes him an interesting person to spend a time with. We’d probably knock around Washington or else go on a day trip. But I’d let him choose where we go. I’m sure I’d learn something.

Chris’ Russian contact and (in some ways) counterpart, Amira Niyzov, would be the other one. Amira has been sidelined by the restrictive authoritarian Putin regime, but she too has the wisdom and smarts to maneuver a unique course through life. I’d love her to show me her favorite parts of Moscow.  

What was the hardest scene from THE CHILDREN’S GAME to write?

The most challenging was the scene with Vladimir Putin and Andrei Turov at Putin’s residence. Turov is a fictional character (a Russian oligarch, and one of the novel’s pivotal characters). Putin, obviously, is not. This scene required lots of research – the details of Putin’s office and residence, his manner when meeting with business associates, his speaking style and personal quirks. Then there was the challenge of getting inside his head.

What made you want to become a writer?

I was given a gift of imagination and tasked with developing it and using it.



Just for fun

(a Favorite song: Today? Mahler’s Fifth Symphony

(b Favorite book: The Book of Psalms

(c Favorite movie: The Third Man

(d Favorite tv show: The Bureau (French spy series)

(e Favorite Food: New England chowder

(f Favorite drink: Genesee NA

(g Favorite website: Brain Pickings (https://www.brainpickings.org/)


About the Author

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Max Karpov is a journalist and novelist who has written for The Washington Post and elsewhere. Max Karpov is the nom de plume of James Lilliefors, whose past fiction writing includes two critically acclaimed geopolitical thrillers, The Leviathan Effect and Viral , as well as the Bowers and Hunter mystery series.
 

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