The Iris Covenant’s Puppet Master

Envirotech HQEnvirotech HQJapanese-American Abraham Itahara, self-made billionaire and CEO of Envirotech, has a lifelong hatred and mistrust of Japanese. When invited to a meeting of international industrial moguls in Kyoto, Japan, he encourages our protagonist, Buck to attend in his stead.
Itahara’s shadow life, that of heading up a covert agency in Homeland Security, allows him to use the resources of the Federal Government to protect intellectual property of the United States from theft by foreign agents. As a result he is able to provide Buck with the necessary means to conduct intelligence gathering at the meeting in Kyoto.
Much to his surprise, Buck finds love in the last place he would look for it and informs Itahara of his new found relationship. Itahara sees a way to gain information by having Buck entice the woman to spy for him.
When Itahara is informed of a terrorist incursion on American soil, he uses his authority to have Buck recalled to active duty.

Bushido in The Iris Covenant

Our antagonist sees himself as an ancient shogun

Our antagonist sees himself as an ancient shogun

We saw the movie 47 Ronin. It was based on a true story about ancient Japanese warrior culture. A ronin is a samurai with no shogun to lead him and is considered an outcast in Bushido culture (warrior code). A ronin is honor-bound to avenge the death of his shogun by killing his avowed enemy and then die by his own hand.
This ancient culture is modernized in our novel The Iris Covenant. The antagonist in our novel is a self-appointed shogun who is actually a 21st century Japanese industrial mogul. He conspires with other international corporate heads to steal high technology any way they can via industrial espionage. Our antagonist seeks to punish Americans for what he considers a wrongful hanging of his grandfather for war crimes in WW II. While leading terrorists he loses his life and his close friend and self-appointed samurai seeks to kill the man who betrayed his shogun.

The Iris Covenant’s Hero, son of a WWII hero

Buck is wounded in Vietnam and evacuated by helicopter.

Buck is wounded in Vietnam and evacuated by helicopter.

Colt .45 given to Buck by his father.

Colt .45 given to Buck by his father.

Buck's townhouse overlooks Lake Travis on the edge of Austin, TX.

Buck’s townhouse overlooks Lake Travis on the edge of Austin, TX.

The protagonist for The Iris Covenant is Buck Whithers, a retired army officer, a Vietnam veteran and widower. He lives alone in a large townhouse that overlooks Lake Travis on the edge of Austin, Texas. A phone call in the middle of the night launches him into a perilous world of international industrial espionage as an agent of the U.S. Government. The path leads him to a culture he has hated as a result of his father being a survivor of the Bataan Death March in WWII. While gathering evidence on industrial theft, Buck manages to escape attempts on his life. After returning to the U.S., he is recalled to active duty to deal with terrorists who threaten a high technology nuclear facility on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Cord in The Iris Covenant – A car made for an Industrial Espionage Novel

37 Cord3At our book signings we often have a large display board on an easel depicting various aspects of each of our novels. During a recent signing for The Iris Covenant, our Industrial Espionage Novel, a young man pointed to a photo of a 1937 blue Cord automobile. Betty asked what he thought of the photo. He looked closer and read the caption “1937 Cord Driven by Buck.” “Oh, he said, that’s a Honda Accord.” We explained that the automobile wasn’t an Accord, but an American luxury car that was last built in 1937. In our novel the Cord is driven by our hero, Buck Whithers, as he toured the San Francisco area with his new love interest. The woman, Obeiji, is a Japanese businesswoman and cousin of the suspected leader of an international industrial espionage ring operating out of Kyoto, Japan. Buck met Obeiji in Kyoto while on assignment to investigate the theft of high technology worldwide.

Buck rented the car from a unique vintage automobile agency in San Francisco. He drove Obeiji along Route 101 along the California coast to Half Moon Bay. As he drove, he explained to her as a boy growing up in rural Kentucky, a well-to-do neighbor drove past his family’s property every day in a Cord not unlike the one he was driving. His driving the Cord was the fulfillment of his boyhood dream. Later in the novel, Obeiji buys him the car as a gift. Buck is overwhelmed by the gift.

The Cord automobile was manufactured in Connersville, Indiana, by the Auburn Automobile Company from 1929 thru 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937. E. L. Cord founded the Cord Corporation including the Auburn. He was known for his innovative technology and streamlined design. The Cord was the first front wheel drive car to be offered to the public. The design was much lower than competing cars of the time and the body design won prizes in contests worldwide.

Inspiration for The Iris Covenant

Betty at book signing event. Cassius Mullen at the Texas Gulf Coast.
Betty at book signing event and Cassius Mullen at the Texas Gulf Coast.

We never knew book signings could be so enjoyable. It is at these events where we meet so many interesting readers. No matter where we are, the question most asked is where did we get the idea for The Iris Covenant? The answer to this question is not easy. We never know what is going to spark our imagination; what grabs our attention as the basis for a novel. Looking back we believe the core idea came from media reports on international espionage. Espionage and intrigue, you know thrillers such as Jack Higgins Bad Company and The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum, can always carry us away on an armchair journey of intrigue and suspense not found in our everyday experiences. It seems everyone wants a little excitement to offset the routine of our everyday existence.

By combining espionage with the thrill of suspense and throwing in a taste of different cultures and locales we developed the story line for The Iris Covenant. There is an old adage about writing that says you should write about what you are familiar with. Living in Central Texas, our story begins in Austin. From there we carry the reader to the Washington, D.C. area and across the Pacific to the Bushido culture held sacred by some ancient Japanese families. In 1961 Cassius had visited Japan twice while on leave from the 1st Cavalry Division in South Korea, and that was why we targeted Kyoto as the site for our intrigue to deepen. It is the warrior code of Bushido that led Japan to WW II and forms the basis for the conflict between our hero and his nemesis. Our story reaches a climax on the Texas Gulf Coast where a secret research facility holds the key for a terrorist invasion on American soil, but we don’t want to give away any of the nail-biting details, in case you haven’t finished reading the book yet.