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Author Ted Bell: New Novel's Plot Reflects China's Border Expansion

By    |   Wednesday, 02 April 2014 01:48 PM

Beijing has taken steps to expand the country's southern border without international consent, says novelist Ted Bell, whose new thriller, "Warriors," explores the possibility of a nuclear war between the United States and China.

"What's basically happened in the real world is China has extended its international borders 200 or 300 miles to the south of Henan Province without any respect for law, anybody asking any permission, and it's actually just outrageous what they've done," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum."

"You don't actually hear about that much on the news, but that's what's happened. They were going to start demanding permission to transit their waters and their air space, and that's kind of what happens in the beginning of  'Warriors.' There's a huge territorial dispute between China and its neighbors Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It's basically a rise in new militaristic spirit in the Chinese armed services."

"Warriors" is the eighth book in the New York Times best-selling series of novels featuring British counterspy Lord Alexander Hawke.

"My intent was to create a 21st century Bond. If you think about it, Ian Fleming wrote the first Bond book, 'Casino Royale,' in 1953. So James Bond is very much a creature of the mid-20th century. So I knew that if I was going to create a dashing, sort of elegant, sophisticated spy, which is what I did want to do, I couldn't make him at all like James Bond," Bell said.

"He had to swim for himself, and as a result, he's a totally a 21st century guy. He has emotions, he bleeds when he gets hurt, he laughs, he cries, he surrounds himself with guys he thinks are funny, and they think he's funny. He's witty, he's passionate, he's 33 years old, he's the sixth-richest man in England. Therefore, he's very popular as a bachelor, possibly even more than Will or Harry. I'm just making that up, but … he's a pretty popular guy."

As for the fictional U.S. president in the book, Bell said, "It came from my feeling that, you know, so much rides on the guy that's sitting in the White House, and if he's not making good decisions all the time, it's a bad thing.

"And then I decided to turn that into a plot part, where somehow the president has this mysterious illness, and nobody's quite sure if it's early onset dementia, if he's, you know, got serious physical problems. But everyone is questioning his fitness for office, including his own wife, and it turns out he really is sick, but he's sick for a reason, and the reason is there's a bad guy working in the White House kitchen."

Bell was a visiting scholar at Cambridge University's Department of Politics and International Studies in 2011-12, focusing on China and North Korea.

"The people who go to Cambridge, that are part of POLIS, the political science department, these are all future MI6, CIA superstars or assistants to presidents or prime ministers. I mean it's the elite of the elite that are in Cambridge at any given time. It is spy heaven, and I was lucky to be right in the middle of it for a year, and I can tell you, I heard and saw stuff I would have to kill you if I told you about," he said of his time there.

"In fact, we were required every meeting, every time I walk in a room, you sign something. It's called a Charthouse Rule, and you swear never to reveal who was in the room, what was said, or what the outcome was."

While he was still at Cambridge, Bell spoke at the Reagan Library in conjunction with the Reagan Foundation's exhibit "SPY: The Secret World of Espionage." In his speech, he said James Bond saved his life.

"I was very honored to be asked to speak at the Reagan Library, and I wanted to have a topic that was in keeping with their international spy exhibit, and the truth is that James Bond really did save my life, almost literally and figuratively," he recalled.

"I was a little typical American kid growing up in a small town, and the summer of my 12th birthday, I started reading these amazing books by Ian Fleming, and it opened my eyes to this incredible world out there beyond the small-town America in the '50s that I knew. I got enormously excited, not just about bullets, babes, and Bombay martinis, which was all part of it, but just the glamour of all that was going on out in the world. I would have had no idea about this if it weren't for Ian Fleming."

Bell said his favorite Bond movie is "From Russia With Love."

"Ian Fleming would agree that was the best one. Favorite villain would have to be Goldfinger. I love that guy. My favorite James Bond quote is when he's on the rack in Nassau in 'Dr. No.' I can't remember for sure, but anyway, Bond says, 'Do you expect me to talk?' and Dr. No says, 'No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.' I loved that quote so much I lifted it. It's in my new book, 'Warriors.'"

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Beijing has taken steps to expand the country's southern border without international consent, says novelist Ted Bell, whose new thriller, "Warriors," explores the possibility of a nuclear war between the United States and China.
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 01:48 PM
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