The Dubai Betrayal
by Jeremy Burns
on Tour June 1-30, 2016
During a desperate attempt to rally support for a controversial Middle Eastern peace summit, U.S. Ambassador Christine Needham is kidnapped on an unauthorized visit to Dubai. Forced to walk a thin line between diplomacy and effectiveness, President James Talquin assembles a new covert team, helmed by black ops veteran Wayne Wilkins, to rescue the ambassador before she is executed by terrorists. But the ambassador is in possession of a dangerous secret, one that, if not recovered in time, could lead to the most devastating terror attack in history.
Now Wayne and his team are on a collision course with unseen forces that seem to be manipulating world powers toward a devastating conclusion. With a nuclear apocalypse just hours away, the operatives must confront a new kind of jihad, one that breaks all the rules of warfare and terrorism.
But all of the players may not be what they seem, and with no one left to trust, the newly founded team must lean on each other to navigate the glittering heights and hidden depths of one of the world’s most fascinating cities and infiltrate a centuries-old shadow war raging within Islam itself. As the twists and betrayals mount, it soon becomes clear that unless Wayne and his men can recover the ambassador and the secret she holds in time, the terrorists’ enigmatic paymaster may get exactly what he wants: an all-consuming world war from which America and her allies would never recover.
Read an excerpt:
Jeremy Burns lived and worked in Dubai for two years, conduct- ing first-hand research in many of the locations featured in The Dubai Betrayal and immersing himself in a variety of Middle Eastern cultures. His first book, From the Ashes, introduced Wayne Wilkins and is a two-time #1 category bestseller on Ama- zon, with more than 95,000 total ebook copies downloaded to date. A seasoned traveler who has explored more than twenty countries across four continents, he lives in Florida with his wife and two dogs, where he is working on his next book.
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
A lot of both, especially for this book. I lived and worked in Dubai for two years during some of the most impactful events in the city’s history (e.g. the immediate aftermath of the global recession, the opening of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall, the Mossad assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh). I explored most locations in the book (in Dubai and across the Middle East) first-hand to bring a level of authenticity and detail to the fascinating setting. I befriended and spoke with numerous people from various backgrounds and nationalities from across the region about the religious, political, historical, and cultural conflicts that inform the layers of interlocking threats in THE DUBAI BETRAYAL. But I also used that unique lens to gain a new perspective on major current events and topics, from ISIS to Iran’s nuclear program, from the Palestinian peace process to the Syrian Civil War to the very nature of modern jihad.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the storyline brings you?
I always know where the story is headed (to a big, riveting finale), and I’ll plot out some key scenes/twists/set pieces that are integral to the story’s structure, giving me a rough map (plotwise, location-wise, and character arcs). I leave room for surprises that come during the actual line-level writing process, and move forward with the story,
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Wayne Wilkins is named after someone I knew in college when I first started working on my first novel, FROM THE ASHES, while Robert Suarez is named after a childhood friend of mine. Several other characters, including Omar Sawaf, Paiman Parmaei, Omid Khosh, and Arsalan Hosseini are named after former students from Dubai, and I realized after the fact that I’d named the main antagonist after the director of the company that owned our school (I guess the name just stuck with me), though other than some of their nationalities, the characters intentionally bear no resemblance to their namesakes. There’s certainly a little of me in Wayne (and theoretically in every character), but none of the characters are strongly based on anyone I know.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I’m easily distracted, and it can take me a little while to get in my writing groove for any giving session. Once I’m going, though, I lose all track of time as the pages fly by (until my dogs come over to let me know they need to go out, that is). I also try to leave myself notes so I know to come back to a particular section to make sure I get my facts right. Otherwise I’ll lose my momentum for the session and several hours of writing time to the fascinating hyperlinked black hole that is Internet research.
Tell us why we should read this book.
Surprisingly enough, for all its wonder and superlative setting, Dubai has barely been touched in thrillers. I figured where better to start this spin-off series than with the rarely explored yet fascinating city that I called home for two years. My time in Dubai and exploring the region lends the book an authenticity that has been lauded by reviewers and my fellow authors alike, while the story paints a terrifyingly plausible nightmare scenario formed by decades of American foreign policy, a number of high-stakes current events that are largely swept under the rug by Western media, and a fundamental misunderstanding about Islam and jihad. Plus, it features what may be the first use of a jihadist PMC in fiction, which offers a very interesting twist on the more traditional Islamic terrorist baddies. Plus, unlike the slower opening chapters of FROM THE ASHES, THE DUBAI BETRAYAL blasts out of the gate and just ramps up even further from there, culminating in a massive, multi-part twist-laden climax set in some of the most incredible places Dubai has to offer. And there are spectacular explosions. Lots and lots of explosions.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Too many to count. Mark Twain and Umberto Eco are longtime favorites, and there’s a bevy of thriller authors whose work I love as well (many of whom I’ve had the opportunity to meet through my membership with International Thriller Writers and can attest that they are wonderful and incredibly humble people to boot).
What are you reading now?
I just finished Juan Gomez-Jurado’s THE TRAITOR’S EMBLEM, I’m listening to Joel C. Rosenberg’s THE THIRD TARGET on audiobook, and I’m just launching into Brad Meltzer & Tod Goldberg’s THE HOUSE OF SECRETS, alongside reading a number of non-fiction books as research for future projects.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
My next book will be a return to the protagonist of FROM THE ASHES, Jonathan Rickner. A prequel to that book, THE FLAGLER HUNT will see Jon and his older brother Michael (whose death is a key driving motive for Jon in FROM THE ASHES) locked in a dangerous race with an unscrupulous disgraced archeologist to unravel the meaning of a mysterious treasure hunt designed by Gilded Age railroad magnate Henry Morrison Flagler to drive tourism to his resorts in St. Augustine, Florida. Why did Flagler abandon the project on the eve of its announcement? What shocking secrets are still concealed in the very foundations of America’s oldest city? THE FLAGLER HUNT is a breakneck race for the truth as Jon and Michael have only 12 hours to unravel centuries of deception, or else a priceless treasure and Flagler’s final secret will be lost forever. I’m putting the finishing touches on it now, so follow me on social media (Facebook: @JeremyBurnsBooks; Instagram: @AuthorJeremyBurns; Twitter: @authorjburns) and sign up for my mailing list on my website (www.AuthorJeremyBurns.com) for more info in the coming months.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Oh gosh, that’s a tough one. I’ll take a stab at it though:
Wayne Wilkins – Bradley Cooper
Walid Abushakra – Rami Malek
Christine Needham – Charlize Theron
Robert Suarez – Michael Peña
Mahmoud Nasef – Mehdi Dehbi
Omar Sawaf – Sammy Sheikh
Basim Al Attar – Arnold Vosloo
Arsalan Hosseini – Maz Jobrani
President James Talquin – Jeff Bridges
Janan Ibrahim – Golshifteh Farahani
Logan Pierce – Aaron Eckhart
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I love traveling, but that is rarely pure leisure because I’m always thinking about what scenes I could set there. Still immensely enjoyable though, arguably more so because of the creative juices it sets loose. Reading, of course, as well. I also enjoy playing video games, especially ones with sprawling worlds that I can explore (are you sensing a theme here?). Currently I’m playing a title called Tom Clancy’s The Division, where you play as an agent with a secret government agency so secret it’s simply referred to as “The Division”. It’s set in New York City and the most prominent symbol of The Division is the phoenix, with in-game currency called “Phoenix Credits” (any fans of my nationally bestselling debut novel, FROM THE ASHES, which released more than 4 years prior to the Tom Clancy-branded video game, will note the stark similarities across the board there). It’s got a really beautiful recreation of Midtown Manhattan, so I’m looking forward to exploring some of my old haunts from my novel in the game’s version of the city.
Another tough one. I tend to be a bit of a foodie, so there’s too many really to count, but pizza and tacos are some go-to comfort foods, while chicken tikka, coconut shrimp, and veal saltimbocca are also winners.
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