Opera by Julie Anderson will be published September 5th with Claret Press and is the third book in this series of political thrillers featuring Cassandra Fortune, following on from Plague and Oracle. I am delighted to welcome Julie today with a guest post where she gives us all an insight into Opera and a sneak peek of what’s in store for her main protagonist, Cassandra Fortune.
[ About the Book ]
TRUTH NEVER DIES
It had been solely personal. Not anymore.
Determined to put the ghosts of her past to rest, Cassandra Fortune asks a former head of GCHQ for help, only to receive a message from beyond the grave. A riddle to puzzle out and a murder to solve. She revisits an old betrayal in an ancient land, uncovering subterfuge and treason.
As Christmas approaches, a shadowy presence haunts her footsteps. Is it because of the case, or is it the return of an old enemy? His criminal network shattered, is he seeking revenge?
What is real and what only appears to be? Who can be trusted and who is double-dealing? Cassie must find the truth. And survive.
[ Guest Post by Julie Anderson ]
Opera is the title of the third novel in my crime fiction series featuring Whitehall sleuth Cassandra Fortune. It’s published by Claret Press on 5th September. The series began with Plague (Claret Press, 2020) set in and beneath the streets of London and continued with Oracle (2021) set in Delphi, where long-ago-but-not-forgotten crimes come back to haunt their perpetrator. Opera brings Cassandra back to London, the scene of her earlier triumph, but it is also the scene of her confrontation with her nemesis, the villain she encountered in the first book. He is out for revenge and she needs her old allies and supporters as well as some new ones if she is to escape him.
In fact ‘opera’ is an Italian word which means ‘work’, in the sense of a labour performed – ‘I did my work’, as well as the result of that labour – ‘It’s a work of art’. My heroine, Cassandra, has always been devoted to her work, sometimes to the exclusion of all else, which is why, at the beginning of Plague, she is living alone in a London flat. She destroyed her marriage and lost her beloved job at GCHQ some years before, having to leave that agency under a cloud. Now she’s working for the Prime Minister and is more secure, she looks back at the events around her leaving and realizes that what she believed at the time – that it was all her own fault – doesn’t quite ring true. There was something else going on and she wants to find out what really happened.
So, she goes to visit her old friend and mentor, who has retired to the Sussex countryside, to ask what she should do. Little does she know that her mentor will draw her back into the shadowy world of espionage and that her discoveries will place her in great danger. The tag-line on the book is ‘Truth Never Dies’ and Cassie uncovers a plethora of secrets, some of which have remained hidden for years, some of which are much more recent. Her search for the truth of what happened to her and her work leads her into the murky world of spies, disinformation and real-politic. What is real and what only appears to be? Who can be trusted and who is double-dealing? Even friends become suspects and enemies, apparently, bring aid as Cassie, once again, must risk life and limb to solve the mystery.
The opera in Opera is Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. It is at Covent Garden for a performance of Tosca that Cassie sees a parallel between the opera’s plot and her own mystery, which helps her work out what may have happened. But there are other parallels. Tosca was set in a time of political change just as Napoleon invaded the Italian peninsular as a champion of liberty (before he became an Emperor). This was welcomed by Italian democrats who had suffered under the oppressive rule of the Kingdom of Naples, with its spies, torturers and secret police. In the world of my book, which is very close to the real one, it’s also a time of political change, when democracy is under threat from the forces of repression, in post-Soviet Russia or China, or from fundamentalist religions in the West and elsewhere.
Cassandra, like the hero and heroine of Tosca, is on the side of democracy and, as is only fitting, the book ends in a little-known part of the Palace of Westminster, Mother of Parliaments, when Cassie has to confront the man who almost destroyed her. Can she uncover the truth and survive? It’s all in a day’s work for Cassie.
Purchase Link ~ Opera
[ Bio ]
After retiring from a successful career in the civil service, Julie Anderson turned her attention to writing. Along with the Cassie Fortune mysteries Plague, Oracle and Opera, Julie has authored two children’s novels and a collection of short stories. She is the Chair of Trustees for Clapham Writers, and is one of the creators and organisers of Clapham Book Festival. Plague and Oracle have been widely praised and Julie has created a downloadable walking tour guide of the London sites in Plague.
The trilogy’s finale Opera will be published September 5th 2022.
Twitter ~ @jjulieanderson