by Christine Wells
Fiction writers take inspiration from everywhere--real life, research, classic stories, legends, even fairytales.
And I must admit ::hanging head:: that sometimes my inspiration comes from television.
I don't watch much TV but lately, I've been hooked on a UK television series about some dangerous men and women. Spooks is the colloquial term for British MI5 operatives, the spies who deal with threats to national security on a domestic level. This series about a small handful of top operatives, run by spymaster Harry Pierce, makes for compelling drama.
A stellar cast over 6 series (so far) includes:
Matthew McFadyen (Darcy in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice movie)
Rupert Penry-Jones (who also starred in the wonderful production Cambridge Spies) (right)
Hugh Laurie (House, Blackadder) makes an appearance as the snobby, insufferable head of MI6. I could watch Laurie in anything. He's such a versatile actor. Although if you happen to have only seen him in House and then watch Jeeves and Wooster, you might be in for a shock!
Soon to arrive on Spooks is Richard Armitage--that alone is enough reason to watch, quite apart from brilliant writing, masterly acting and edge of the seat action. I cannot WAIT for the next series!
Be prepared for casualties on the way--many of them central characters. Sad as I am to let beloved characters go, it definitely adds authenticity and an edge to the danger and suspense to know that no one is safe.
And while they're good at what they do, these Spooks are human, too. They struggle to maintain normal relationships outside the service and they question the morality of their choices and their methods every day. What's equally interesting is that they're not James Bond-style superhuman types. They can fight, but they tend to use intelligence, resourcefulness and a few dirty tricks rather than muscle to achieve their ends. Sometimes they don't win. And sometimes they win, but at immense personal cost. Can you see why a fiction writer would lap this stuff up?
And did I mention Richard Armitage will be starring in the next series?
In The Dangerous Duke, my hero Lyle works for the Regency era Home Office in a capacity very similar to these Spooks, until he unexpectedly inherits a title and the responsibilities that go with it. He's ruthless and competent, and his mantra has always been that the end justifies the means.
Then he meets Lady Kate, who is powerful in a different way. She has been the confidant and advisor to many important men in government. When she decides to wield her power to protect someone she loves, she becomes a formidable opponent for Lyle. But it's the danger each senses in the other that they find so compelling, and it's not long before they're playing the most dangerous game of all...
Do you like danger? In movies, books, real life? What's your favourite dangerous thrill?
I'm giving away a signed copy of The Dangerous Duke and assorted Dangerous Duke stationery to a handful of lucky winners!