Welcome to the nbmagazine.co.uk stop on the blog tour for White Gold by David Barker!

Here’s a little info about the book:

Sim Atkins, Overseas Division agent, returns to Earth, having saved the Moon base from a deadly terrorist plot (see Rose Gold). All Sim can think about is finding the criminals responsible.

But his fury and lust for revenge are put on hold when a nuclear warhead is stolen by Terra Former leader Matthias Larsson. Can Sim and his colleagues track down the terrorist cell and disarm the device in time?

White Gold is the gripping finale in the compellingly original Gaia Trilogy, page-turning thrillers that provoke as well as excite.

And about author David Barker:

David was born in Cheshire but now lives in Berkshire. His working life has been spent in the City, first for the Bank of England and now as Chief Economist for an international fund. So his job entails trying to predict the future all the time. David attended the Faber Academy course and he still meets up with his inspirational fellow students.

And here’s Paul Burke’s review of White Gold:

I was tempted to refer to this entertaining thriller as an action/sci-fi cross-over, it’s set in the near future in the aftermath of a war for water and there’s plenty of pyrotechnics! However, apparently it’s part of a new sub-genre: Climfic. Why? Because White Gold is a vision of what the world might be like fifteen years from now – caveat: If we’re still here at all… If!

The great thing about White Gold is that it’s a lot of fun to read; which meant I could sit back, chill out and enjoy the ride – and I did. However, I also found myself thinking about Barker’s White Gold world; of course it’s speculation, but it’s both a troubling and grimly realistic scenario. Climate change is topical at the moment and in the light of what has happened in London recently, Extinction Rebellion and the visit of Greta Thunberg, this novel couldn’t be more zeitgeisty. I don’t want to make any extravagant claims for White Gold, or get carried away though; it is a thriller, pure and simple, but it does make you think.

That aside, Barker just keeps the action coming. As the novel progresses the tension escalates and as the different strands of the story come together a very satisfying denouement looms up on the horizon (if there still is one in 2034). White Gold is a heady mix of terror plots, secret criminal organisations, stolen nuclear warheads, international conspiracy, treacherous double cross, deadly viruses and Geo-political tensions – it’s a pretty volatile world.

White Gold is the last volume of the Gaia trilogy, which is set just over a decade from now, the series has a strong ecological theme – climate change has catastrophically impacted the planet. It all began in Blue Gold (2017), geo-political tensions brought the world to the brink of war for the most precious resource of all – water. British agent Sim Atkins and the Overseas Division hunt for the terrorists responsible for a satellite disappearing over Iceland, initially the operation is a failure, but the trail eventually leads to a billionaire tax haven which threatens the fragile world peace. The follow up, Rose Gold (2018), sees Sim Atkins sent to the international mining base on the Moon, its success is vital to the future of Earth, but it’s being threatened by terrorists. On Earth, Gopal and Rabtan, also Overseas Division operatives, are tracking a terrorist airship.

Now, in White Gold (2019), Sim Atkins returns to Earth. Although his mission was successful, it came at a price, his six-year-old son James is dead. Although the mission to destroy the Moon base was thwarted the mastermind who planned the deadly attack is still out there. While Matthias Larsson, the terra/terror former leader, is planning to up the terrorists game here on Earth, Atkins vows to track him down.

NORSAR, Finnmark station, Norway, June 2034. The monitoring station detects unusual seismic activity in North Korea. Not an underground military nuclear test this time but a shift in magma that registers a dangerous reading on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. Packtu on the North Korea/China border has been inactive for centuries, an explosion could be 1,000X bigger than Eyjafjallajskull and even 10X bigger than Krakatoa.

Atkins’ former partner, Freda Brightwell, and operatives Gopal and Rabtan are rotting in a Russian gaol. Hopefully, their boss at Overseas Division, Wardle, is negotiating with the Russians for their release. Wardle chooses a different option, the prison breakout. Drones blow a hole in the exercise yard wall and the exterior fence and the trio escape in the general confusion. Now they are alone in the woods wearing prison uniforms and with no money. Hopefully the next phase of the plan can actually get them out of the country.

On the North Sea captain Euan Hamilton, the commander of Endeavour, a ship belonging to the Overseas Division, has been warned to expect an attack on the under sea gas silos he is protecting. Europe has successfully been pumping its CO2 emissions into vast caverns under the sea. Hamilton and the Endeavour thwart the attack but at great cost. However, they do learn that the launch pad for the drone attack appears to be an iceberg in the North Sea.

Debriefed on his Moon mission, Atkins heads to America because the CIA are tracking the moon base attackers. Matthias Larsson, leader of the terra formers has a new plan in mind to destabilise earth’s fragile environment. Only the Overseas Division can prevent a new terrorist catastrophe, once again they are in the firing line.

White Gold takes us on a world tour, on land and sea, and even beyond into space. The Overseas Division face up to challenge after challenge, but then the fate of the world is on the line. I like the world Barker has created (if you see what I mean) and this is great escapism, a sort of cathartic release from climate fears. A temporary escape for anyone who doesn’t have an escape pod and a new world to go – in which case better pray that Sim Atkins, Freda Brightwell and the team win out against the terra/terror formers.

Barker is a graduate of the Faber Academy, it’s authors are really making their mark in fiction now. He says:

“…Using the thriller genre gives me scope to look at the complexities surrounding the future of our resources while still entertaining readers.”

Entertain, he certainly does.

Paul Burke 4/4

White Gold by David Barker
Urbane Publications 9781912666294 pbk May 2019