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Monday, 9 May 2016

Enchanted by the lovely Tana…

The Tana Standish psychic spy series - #2 The Tehran Text

Tana Standish, a child-survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, was adopted by a British naval lieutenant and in 1965 joined the British Secret Intelligence Service. She is a psychic with a photographic memory. Each adventure begins with the passing of a collection of papers and manuscripts to the author (Nik Morton) by one of her secret service associates. He then writes down her experiences.

The first was The Prague Papers (Czechoslovakia, 1975), and this is followed by The Tehran Text (Iran, 1978), [both of which were previously published (2008 & 2009 respectively), though the latter received minimal exposure as the collapse of the publisher occurred almost at the same time as its release. Both are now available as Crooked Cat e-books.

At least two more adventures are planned: The Khyber Chronicle – (Afghanistan, 1979/80), a work-in-progress, and The Caldera Cryptogram (Argentina, Falklands, 1982).  

Snippets from 6 Amazon reviews of The Tehran Text follow, with sections excised to avoid too much repetition.

‘Playing mind games…’
The book opens in fine dramatic style, with an assassination and more than a hint of psychic powers which quickly dominate the story of Tana Standish and her action-packed adventures in the Middle East. The intricacies of the plot unfold in masterful manner and I don't want to put the book down as Standish wriggles out of one situation into another while playing mind games and trying to rescue her friends. – Amazon review, February, 2016

‘Not for the faint-hearted…’
… overall it was a fabulous and smartly paced read... Tana definitely leads an exciting life as a British agent extraordinaire, her psychic abilities making her even more successful than normal… The double life she leads under cover is not for the faint-hearted and it was a sad read when some of her locally based activist friends meet their grisly end. Spies and double agents abound in the novel, many with almost comparable psychic abilities to Tana, which make life very deadly at times for her and her fellow British agents. I certainly wouldn’t want to meet the Spetsnaz female agent Aksakov in real life but I am looking forward to reading more of the empathetic Yakunin… – Amazon UK, November 2015

‘Characters who are so alive…’
There are not too many books that stay with you long after you finish reading them, not too many characters who are so alive it seems like you recently met them. And so it is with Tana Standish, the psychic spy created by Nik Morton in this page-turning thriller.
            We travel to Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and England and meet a variety of brilliantly portrayed characters - both chillingly cruel and highly talented, some of them torturers, others who control a team of remote viewers, others traditional British MI6 characters. The locations are so finely drawn we can almost reach and touch them, the atmospheres so vivid that we can shut our eyes and sense ourselves there. - Maureen Moss, travel journalist, August 2010

‘Scary women in droves’
Nik Morton places the very fanciable Tana's missions for the British Intelligence Service in Iran in 1978 but his narrative and prose are nonetheless what we expect of espionage/thriller writers in the 21st Century. Male readers may find themselves enchanted by the lovely Tana, whom the author presents as very believable in his revelations from `deep throat' MI6 mole Alan Swann, but do bear in mind that she's probably drawing a civil service pension now so I would suggest that, like me, they forget the erotic fantasies. In any case, not only can Tana kick arse very well indeed, she's also psychic. Do you really want a relationship with an older woman who can not only read your thoughts but can also throw you around the room for having them?
            In addition to the nasty males running the Middle East terrorist groups, the book has scary women in droves, with deadly female Spetsnaz operative Aksakov out to abduct our Tana, whose assistance from Kazakhstan-based friendly psychic Yakunin is blunted by an unfriendly psychic in a strategic battle of the minds. But masterful Morton handles them all very nicely and serves up a ripping read with a plot clever enough to stand up with the best of them. - Review in Round Town News by author Danny Collins, May 2010

‘Compulsive spy novel’
For those who like their plots laid out skilfully and with painstaking research, Nik Morton's latest Tana Standish thriller, The Tehran Text is where you should be. When she knows her friends are in danger, Tana pits her physical skills against evil adversaries to secure their freedom. But because of Tana's phenomenal psychic ability, she is constantly under threat from the mind games of the Soviets. Although Tana has an ally in the Soviet camp, Yakunin, he cannot show his hand as he battles to warn Tana of the threats against her. While Tana pits her wits against the evil agents of the Shah's secret police, she is hounded by the brilliant, but deadly Spetsnaz agent, Aksakov… Tana Standish stands out as a heroine worthy of the pages of this compulsive spy novel. - Michael Parker, author, April 2010

‘Psychological gifts beyond the normal’
Thriller number two in the series of Tana Standish, English agent with psychological gifts beyond the normal. Many have read the book or seen the movie based on Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate. An eerie story about brainwashing of an American soldier during the Korean War days. Here, we have such a modern tale where Tana has the ability of the mind to see things at enormous distances... While she goes against an Islamic revolution and the old Ayatolla Komenih figures now and then, Tana's worst opponent is the female sadist and Spetsnaz agent Aksakov. - Review by Iwan Morelius in the Swedish online magazine LÄST OCH HÖRT I HÄNGMATTAN, translated, May 2010

My thanks to all of the above reviewers!

You can purchase The Tehran Text from any one of the international Amazon sites here

The Tehran Text - e-book published by Crooked Cat Publishing

The Blurb

The tense and explosive sequel to The Prague Papers

1978. Iran is in ferment and the British Intelligence Service wants Tana Standish’s assessment. It appears that CIA agents are painting too rosy a picture, perhaps because they’re colluding with the state torturers…

Allegiances and loyalties are strained as Tana’s mission becomes deadly and personal. Old friends are snatched, tortured and killed by SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police. She has to use all her skills as a secret agent and psychic to stay one step ahead of the oppressors and traitors.

As the country stumbles towards the Islamic Revolution, the Shah’s grip on power weakens. There’s real concern for the MI6 listening post near the Afghan border. Only Tana Standish is available to investigate; yet it’s possible she could be walking into a trap, as the deadly female Spetsnaz fighter Aksakov has been sent to abduct Tana.

Meanwhile, in Kazakhstan, the sympathetic Yakunin, the psychic spy tracking Tana, is being sidelined by a killer psychic, capable of weakening Tana at the critical moment in combat with Aksakov. Can Yakunin save Tana without being discovered?

In the troubled streets of Iran’s ancient cities and amidst the frozen wastes on the Afghan border, Tana makes new friends and new enemies…

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