BOOK REVIEW - Swampjack Virus by Nicholas Litchfield

AFTER years of living life on the edge, former CIA agent Roger Chapley is enjoying being a man of leisure. Nothing and nobody could persuade him to go back ...

Tuesday, 22nd October 2013, 10:00 am
Swampjack Virus
Swampjack Virus

Well that was how it seemed until his younger brother and fellow agent Peter went missing on a covert joint operation with the intelligence services in London. Now Roger is the only person who can find Peter – dead or alive.

British-born Nicholas Litchfield, a librarian, journalist and researcher who has settled down in Western New York, pays homage to both his old homeland and the classic thriller-adventure spy novels of the 1950s and ’60s in this exciting and wryly funny adventure novel.

Swampjack Virus, a fast-paced, well-plotted and gripping 21st century espionage thriller, follows a middle-aged, maverick CIA agent on a deadly assignment through England’s dark, satanic landscape.

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Litchfield paints a pitch perfect portrait of a delightfully offbeat US spy who bucks the trend by coming out of the heat and into the cold. With his world-weary cynicism, tired exuberance and relentless womanising, Roger Chapley is a man on a mission to track down a dangerous cyber weapon.

His brother Peter has mysteriously gone missing in a London underground station and the British and American intelligence agencies fear that he has been kidnapped.

Peter had spent the last six months working closely with British counterparts at the Secret Intelligent Service as part of a joint venture which the US President has codenamed ‘Project World Series.’ He was helping to develop a revolutionary cyber weapon – a powerful computer virus called Swampjack – which can be used to fully infiltrate Iran’s atomic programme. So why was Peter carrying the prototype weapon in his briefcase on that fateful night?

Aubrey Hawkins, the elderly yet affable Director of the Weapons Intelligence Center at the CIA, suspects there is a leak in his department and needs someone outside the agency to investigate Peter’s disappearance.

Cue Peter’s recently retired brother, Roger, who is currently basking in the sunshine at his lakeside vacation villa with voluptuous squeeze Margot and discovering a new and energetic focus to his life as a fifty-something.

Despite Roger’s fears that he is no longer the ‘cool-headed, quick-thinking machine’ he once was, his concern for his brother’s safety is enough to lure him out of retirement and he is swiftly dispatched to London.

There he finds himself under the cool, watchful eye of alluring British agent Francesca Greaves whose true allegiance appears suspect. And there’s also the standoffish Joseph Bugge, Head of Cyber Security Operations at SIS, who denies him access to the surveillance tape from the tube station on the night of Peter’s disappearance.

It’s soon clear that Peter is under suspicion as a traitor who has faked his own capture and Roger starts to wonder just how well he really knows his own brother.

Determined to do things his own way, Roger follows in Peter’s footsteps on a perilous path across England to a strange, decaying spy station, fortified warehouses and on to a bloody showdown at a remote farmhouse deep in the Yorkshire countryside…

Swampjack Virus, with its ironic undertones, charismatic cast and nail-biting suspense, takes us on a high-speed, rollercoaster journey from the opulent colonial lake houses in New York State to the slate-grey industrial towns and bleak back lanes of England.

Don’t miss the all-action adventure…

Swampjack Virus (ISBN-13: 9780982536551) is available through all good retailers, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell’s Books, or you can get a copy directly from the publisher at

(Lowestoft Chronicle Press, paperback, £10.95)