‘It’s the only diplomacy they understand!’ says whistleblower.
Exclusive from Maria Caruana, roving reporter for Niggez (The Sting), Malta
He told me his name was Alfredo Ropoli, but I doubt if that is the whistleblower’s real name. I responded to his whispered mobile phone call and at dusk we met outside a large warehouse at the far end of Marsaxlokk that juts into the harbour. ‘I work there,’ he told me. ‘It is highly secret – for now.’
As he instructed, I left my smart phone and tablet in the car.
Considering what he said, I was surprised at the poor security. He flipped a coded card at a reader and the door slid open. Inside, the place was cavernous, as I expected. There were only about five people going about their business, some on the boats, others attending to complex consoles. There were six boats floating in the water. But I’d never seen anything like them before.
Each boat was about two metres long and a metre across the beam. Smooth rounded nacelles protruded from each side. Looming over the two-man cabin were three narrow towers with propellers on top. They appeared to be very large drones, capable of floating or flying. Now, I only wished I’d brought my smart phone with me.
Alfredo was nervous, understandably, so we didn’t linger.
Once outside again, I asked, ‘What are they for?’
‘Those nacelles are powerful rockets. Mini-tridents, they call them.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘So the coordinator told me.’
‘What else did he say?’
‘He told me in confidence they are the new-style British gunboats. They already have names for them: Henry V, King Arthur, Lord Wellington, Viscount Montgomery, Sir Francis Drake and Gloriana.’
‘But what are they for?’ I repeated.
‘If the EU doesn’t play ball and the Brexit talks fail, the gunboats’ll be sent in. The coordinator said, “It’s the only diplomacy they understand!”’
Redo April Fool…
Maria Caruana can be found in Chill of the Shadow, as she investigates black magic and vampirism in Malta.
CHILL OF THE SHADOW
In her search for truth she found love – with a vampire!
This cross-genre thriller is set in present-day Malta and has echoes from pre-history and also the eighteenth century Knights of Malta.
Malta may be an island of sun and sand, but there’s a dark side to it too. It all started when some fishermen pulled a corpse out of the sea... Or maybe it was five years ago, in the cave of Ghar Dalam?
Spellman, an American black magician, has designs on a handpicked bunch of Maltese politicians, bending their will to his master’s. A few sacrifices, that’s all it takes. And he’s helped by Zondadari, a rather nasty vampire.
Maltese-American investigative journalist Maria Caruana’s in denial. She can’t believe Count Zondadari is a vampire. She won’t admit it. Such creatures don’t exist, surely? She won’t admit she’s in love with him, either...
Detective Sergeant Attard doesn’t like caves or anything remotely supernatural. Now he teams up with Maria to unravel the mysterious disappearance of young pregnant women. They’re also helped by the priest, Father Joseph.
And there are caves, supernatural deaths and a haunting exorcism.
Just what every holiday island needs, really.
Where there is light, there is shadow…
‘… a strong structure and is full of rich writing and action. The plot has page turning twists and the main characters are likeable, especially the female lead. I hadn't read a vampire book in a while and was reminded of how intensely gruesome they can be. While this one has its squeamish moments it's not atypical for the genre, and I can't help liking a well written book! The Malta setting was perfect, making this a great escape read.’