The World Changes Before Our Eyes in
Mike Bond’s Magnum Opus
How did ISIS grow from a small collection of thugs to an international terrorist organization? Mike Bond explores that question, and much more in Assassins (Mandevilla Press; January 2017), his most ambitious novel to date. Bond spans the 30-year history of radical Islam’s War Against the West beginning in the war-torn mountains of Afghanistan in 1982 to the night of the devastating Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015. It’s a tale of never-ending battle through the eyes of an American commando, a French woman doctor, an Afghani warlord, a Russian major, a British woman journalist, and a top CIA operative.
Witness the West’s bumbling and nefarious dealings with the Islamic world where nothing is cut and dry or black and white, raising all sorts of questions that need answering. Did the Saudi government finance 9/11? Did the Bush administration let Osama bin Laden escape Afghanistan? Did President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq lead to the rise of ISIS and global fanaticism? Bond knows of which he speaks—throughout the world he has seen the devastation first hand.
ASSASINS is multiple thrillers and frantic loves stories woven into one tale that dissects the history of our geopolitical landscape. It is also a treatise on a warrior’s deep loyalties to those he loves, the men he leads, and the nation he serves. Based on the author’s own experiences in the Middle East and elsewhere, Assassins is sure to be remembered as Mike Bond’s masterpiece.
MIKE BOND is the best-selling author of Saving Paradise, House of Jaguar, The Last Savanna, Holy War, Tibetan Cross, and Killing Maine. He is a war and human rights journalist and ecologist who has lived and worked in many dangerous and war-torn regions of the world. His critically acclaimed novels depict the innate hunger of the human heart for good, the intense joys of love, the terror and fury of battle, the sinister conspiracies of dictators, corporations and politicians, and the beauty of the vanishing natural world.
Mandevilla Press; January, 2017
$15.99; 560 pages
Questions for Mike Bond on Assassins
1. Was there a moment where you felt compelled to tell a story about the rise of ISIS and Islamic fanaticism with this book being the result?
This is a subject I’ve been dealing with since my teenage years in Algeria, then by being in a number of wars between Islam and the West. Because Islam represents a serious (though often underestimated) threat to our modern Western way of life and civilization, I am consistently driven to write about and report it.
2. This novel is significant in length being over 500 pages long. How long did it take you to write Assassins?
I began writing it after 9/11, when I realized that our own government had helped to create that disaster and then failed to protect us from it. Over the years I added to it, and finally finished it last winter.
3. What were you looking to accomplish in providing multiple viewpoints ranging from an American commando to an Afghani warlord?
Everyone’s truth is different; if we can’t understand the enemy (and how we have helped to create them) then we can’t possibly defeat them. Even more importantly, what we do wrong (such as invading Iraq, or letting Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora, or leaving Iraq in 2011 after we had basically won) merely creates more enemies in the future.
4. How much research went into bringing characters and their various cultures to life?
Very little research. Most of this is straight out of my own life and those of colleagues and friends.
5. Which one of those characters was the hardest to write?
They were all easy to write, as they are taken from life. They are who they are; I just described them.
6. Which one was your favorite or most enjoyable to write?
The French doctor. Because I had the hots for her.
7. Assassins covers over 30-years of fighting between Islam and the West but you have also said that it is an examination on a warrior’s loyalties to those he loves and those he serves. What do you mean by this?
The problem with being a warrior is that you’re obliged to follow orders. Most of the top CIA people knew in 2002-2003 that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction (it was a total fabrication of the GW Bush administration), but had to follow the line that there was. Sometimes you go into battle knowing that the strategy and tactics are wrong and are going to cost unnecessary American casualties, but you can’t refuse. If you know a war is wrong, should you fight it?
8. Why do you write about topics that are so relevant in modern times when it comes to environmentalism, human rights, and international conflict?
What is important to me is the protection and survival of the good against the overwhelming powers of evil.
9. Why did you decide to end the novel on the night of the Paris attacks in 2015?
It could go on forever; one of my sons and his wife narrowly escaped death from the Muslim attack in Nice last July, but I had already finished the book. The Paris attack was an example of the hostility of the Muslim world to pleasure, joy, sex, music, women, and fun in any form. So it made a good ending, unfortunately.
1. What do you hope for this novel to accomplish when all is said and done?
To give people a better idea of what’s really going on. Few people know the evils of the GW Bush administration, and the horrors it has caused, nor do they understand the profound evils of Muslim fundamentalism. And as I say in the book, “Anyone who reads the New York Times or listens to CNN, NPR, or any other mainline media can’t possibly have the faintest idea of what’s really going on in the world.” I’m offering a more honest and deeply focused view.