The Assyrian Contraband was written as a short introduction to the hero of The Benevolent Deception, Simon Ashcroft. Its early life was as a James Bond novella set in the 1950s, but I changed it to suit Ashcroft and the modern era. The story is set in the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean and South Africa.
The Comoros Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands situated off the south-east coast of Africa, to the east of Mozambique and northwest of Madagascar. The nation of Comoros consists of three major islands and numerous smaller islands. Until 1975 it was a French colony, now it is a Sunni Islamic country and extremely poor. Ashcroft travels here to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a wealthy architect.
Moheli is the smallest of the three main Comoros islands. Simon Ashcroft finds himself on an isolated tropical beach tracking down the kidnappers of a young South African woman, Ariana Venter. The trawler that smuggled her out of South Africa has been seen in the vicinity. When Ariana’s sister Mienke is also almost taken by the kidnappers, Ashcroft and Meinke go on the hunt, figuring confrontation is better than negotiation.
Simon and Mienke track the kidnappers to a recreational trawler hidden just off the coast of Moheli. After Simon sneaks on board, he discovers the kidnappers are members of the Islamic State who are smuggling Assyrian archaeological artefacts for profit, taken from the War in Syria and Iraq. They are hoping to make more money in kidnapping.
A setting featuring tropical oceans, fanatical terrorists, and exotic sea creatures, you know there has to be a shark in there somewhere. Bull sharks are aggressive, territorial and like warm shallow waters. Coming in at around three meters in length and weighing in over a 100kg, they are fearsome predators, as Ashcroft is soon to discover.
Kruger National Park
The story concludes with Simon Ashcroft confronting the father of the two Venter sisters, by ambushing him during a drive through the savanna scrub on the outskirts of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Kruger is one of the largest national parks in the world, with an area of over 19,000 square kilometres. Subtropical hot and humid bushland, it is home to most species of African animals. However, Ashcroft isn’t here for the wildlife.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy The Assyrian Contraband. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you can read the short novella for free here, just by joining my mailing list (no spam ever, I promise). You can watch the trailer for the book here.
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