If there is one book in the GMJ Series I really enjoyed it is Code Name Honey Bee, it is fast paced action, romantic and witty. In this book Foxtrot is expecting a passionate kiss from Angelique but has considerable difficulties claiming it for various reasons which you can read for yourself. At one stage I started to feel sorry for the poor fellow but not to worry, we made up for it in later books (Code Name Devorah).
Code Name Honey Bee continues where Code Name Sanford ended but as with all GMJ books you would be able to read them separately and still have a good story to enjoy. As the author I prefer you to read them all and get the “entire experience” as one reader told me the other day. It is, I am proud to say, the best place to learn of Special Forces and Covert Operations in this theatre of operations. The added romance between the characters makes it even better for me, who am romantic at heart.
The best moments in the books for me? Well, at one stage Foxtrot finds himself with Angelique at a formal ball in an embassy and he wants to tell her a few things about his feelings for her. He expects the waltz, the Blue Danube, to continue for nine minutes or more and it is a romantic scene with all the ladies in evening dress, the men in tuxedos and he gets cheated. The band stops playing before he could get to his speech (this happens often in real life, my word, you work out exactly what to say and never get the chance). He is so disgusted that she has to elbow him to applaud a politician (his pet hate in life) who then made a forty minute speech.
He remembers this incident. In the next book, Code Name Devorah, which takes place a good few years later he threatens the band leader with all sorts of nastiness if it happens again. He wants a proper length waltz with Angelique, by now his wife. Interestingly it is also the only place in the GMJ Series where Foxtrot and Geelslang actually wears their Special Forces parachute wings and decorations for bravery and other awards and they only do so because Angelique ordered them to do so. She herself is not wearing her many decorations and own Special Forces / Commando parachute wings, she only did as far as we know when meeting the President of France, something I will describe more fully in a later book if I get to it. It is known though that Foxtrot gives the fellow the evil eye for gaping at her “chest area” which is only expected from French presidents and from Foxtrot. And then there are the last few pages where Foxtrot, rather bravely I thought, arrives for his kiss which actually, as avid readers will know, only happens in Code Name Vfo565, the first book. But you can read the story yourself.
The book cover is great - it shows the scene where they are in the Drakensberg Mountains camping out. During this time there are many great scenes with many witty comments between Angelique and Foxtrot. She got cheated once again with Foxtrot explaining a self-made (he made it up on the spot) rule about toe crossing limits when lying under oath. Whilst she does not believe him or Geelslang confirming it loyally she plays along, she is smarter than them. This I assure you will come back to haunt Foxtrot. I loved writing Code Name Honey Bee, I do hope you love reading it.
Code Name Sanford follows closely on the previous book in the GMJ Series, Code Name Odette and our heroes are still after the rogue assassin teams inside the South African Secret Service. The book plays off in Southern Mozambique and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. As can be expected it is well researched, fast pace action and the witticisms between Angelique and Foxtrot absolutely worth reading. She is very aware that she is developing feelings for Foxtrot and he knows his own feelings - he knew it since he first saw her picture and is doing nothing to hide it either.
The highlight in the book, for me as author, is where the first physical meeting between Foxtrot and Angelique takes place. It is often mentioned in other books but this is the real deal, the full description. As GMJ readers know, the entire GMJ Series is about the love story between the two main characters and told by Foxtrot years later, reflecting and at times jumping between scenes. I never had complaints from readers about this “jumping” and I expected none; the books are easy to read and to follow and spell bounding (not my words, feedback, thank you). You will know Foxtrot first saw Angelique in a picture in her father’s wallet as he searched his body after the failed rescue attempt but they did not actually meet until almost eight years later in 1998 when she took command and turned their (Foxtrot and Geelslang and the rest) world upside down with her strange but endearing ways. So you can expect the first meeting was dynamite between them with Angelique immediately declaring she has command and so it is. And then later in the book, I don’t want to give the story away too much - they do a tandem parachute jump from a doomed aeroplane which will explode if it goes less than 8000 feet (barometer pressure switches). This moment is special to me for personal reasons but you can read it for yourself. It is a good book, a good read and well worth your time.
The book cover is excellent and reflects back to the book. On the cover you find a Huey with the old Rhodesian Air Force camouflage and the background is typical Okavango Delta. I was really impressed with the cover as this is in the book. GMJ Covers are not just done. The GMJ book is read by the designer (a fan) who is credited in every book and then the cover is designed around the book. Once you finished reading and you look again at the cover you will see the subtle hints on what you read. It is part of the magic of the GMJ Series and the same as the codes I leave in every book for my late wife to enjoy. I hope you enjoy this book, I had fun writing it.
GMJ Books are not just written but convey a message or some knowledge on covert operations or Special Forces techniques used to the reader. In Code Name Odette, GMJ 8, we did things a bit different. I decided to write about codes & ciphers and the use of them in covert warfare and it started a journey I still wonder about. Now if I was a more fanciful man I will tell you a strange incident took place during the research (every GMJ Book has a lot of research behind it) and that my laptop crashed so badly that not even professional IT people could fix it (how I missed my late wife who knew everything there is to know about obnoxious laptops). Basically I went on a website relating to Al-Qaeda and ISIS ciphers and the laptop stopped working, it crashed spectacularly. In the end I rebuilt it completely from scratch shaking my head. Was it by chance? I don’t know and could have been coincidental as my laptop is four years old and I typed more than a million words the last year. At some stage I will have to get a new one. Yet, it never happened before and I jest about the incident in the book. If I may speculate I would say I ran into a “red flag” operation set up by someone very smart in computers and we know there is no such agency to begin with. But we just don’t know but it was so weird.
Nevertheless we got some startling information and it is set out in detail in Code Name Odette. For instance when the NSA leaks began the ISIS and rest immediately upgraded their ciphers and now they have five new ciphers mostly used on mobiles. It is rather interesting as we also looked historically at the Enigma Code and what happened in history with codes & ciphers. It certainly was an eye opener for me and I hope for readers. At least your E-Reader will not crash as did my laptop!
To me there are many good moments in the book starting at page one where Angelique takes revenge on Foxtrot for cheating her out of victory in a shooting competition and then tripping her deliberately during a competitive run. The incidents, sad but true, is often mentioned in books and for years she plotted revenge over the “injustices” until she finally got a “confession” out of him. It is rather funny and perfectly describes the complex relationship between the two, at this stage not married but definitely in love and refusing to acknowledge it.
What are interesting to me as author are the many requests I get for more details on Foxtrot’s sidekick, the Zulu warrior called Geelslang. I am often asked what the name means in English…it is Afrikaans for a nasty snake called a Cape Cobra. Many asked where the name comes from. You will have to read GMJ 10, Code Name Honey Bee for that answer – it is given there. Then they ask is Geelslang real? Yes, he is based on a friend of mine, a former Special Forces fellow but remember this is fiction. There are many Geelslangs around. Many would not know this but Special Forces had black members and at times they outnumbered the white men.
The plot in Code Name Odette is simple, inside the South African Secret Service is a training program for new leaders, based on the US Army Ranger principle, where selected Agents are expected to lead conventional Special Forces. You will know in previous books, during the Egg Breaker War, this is exactly what took place. The Agents took command and hunted the Egg Breakers and their commander, Angelique Dawson, down or tried to anyway. This is the book where their origins are described and they try to assassinate Angelique for various reasons given in the book. It is fast paced, lots of good moments and romance and a great read. I know you will enjoy Code Name Odette.
Code Name Angel, GMJ Book 7, is probably my favourite because it is the first book where Angelique Dawson is at the fore front leading operations and causing havoc doing so. The banter between her and Foxtrot is hilarious at times and she comes into her own. Up to now, in the previous books she was more on the background because of the story line where she is protected and not seen that much. Once again, as the Series grew, readers asked questions about the characters before they got married in Code Name Vfo565 or GMJ1. And I tried to oblige.
In this book we look at lost or re-manufactured South African nuclear weapons to be recovered before they reach terrorist hands. It is not as far-fetched as it sounds and we delve deep into the old nuclear program. Historically, South Africa did have nuclear weapons by 1978. Thus far it is the only country in the world to voluntarily disarm and dispose the weapons, in this case, to the USA. This took place just before 1994 when Mr Mandela took over and many see it as evidence of the lack of trust the West had in the new lot. They could not be trusted with such weapons.
The engineers and scientists who build the weapons did not disappear and the skills remained. Many would resurface trying to make a new living in a dispensation that they felt unwelcome in…hence letting it know they could be twisted into manufacturing such weapons again, at the right price. This is, again, not far-fetched at all. It is on record that a few scientists (PhD's) wrote rather heated letters to the US Authorities threatening to do exactly this, to be employed meaningfully or to go rogue and do what they do best. What happened further to them I don’t know but I can tell you, if Iran wants a nuclear device, they just need to come down south and get one. It is old technology and not much to it.
The best moment in the book for me? Undoubtedly two scenes, first where Angelique stood in Foxtrot’s arms (they were holding onto a ski-boat she insulted terribly by calling it the “Pink Slut” – this will return in many books) and they celebrated Christmas. The other nice scene is where she forced him into a skinny dip to wash blood of his body and then to wash and rinse her hair for hours (well, forty minutes). The two of them are now very aware of their growing feelings for each other and I, being rather romantic at times, wrote it like that with a smile. They know they are soul mates and yet is too scared to do much about it, she being “otherwise” and his commanding officer. They are also just over a year away from the deaths of their spouses in Code Name Foxtrot or GMJ6. Their love story grows a lot in the next couple of books.
The book cover is at a place called Bilene in Mozambique where most of the book plays off as well as a bit further north closer to the town of Xai Xai. Bilene used to be known as Sao Martinho during colonial times and is mentioned in other books also. In fact, the previous book, Code Name Foxtrot ends where Angelique tells Foxtrot and Geelslang to open a diving school there as a front company to watch the radical influx. The place is also mentioned in the first GMJ Book, Code Name Vfo565 and you can go there, you will find it looks exactly like that on the cover. It is rather nice and popular as a holiday destination.
I believe that Code Name Angel is a great read. I got wonderful feedback from many readers. It was fun to write it and to see how Angelique uses every tool at her disposal to get the weapons back including later enemies like the South African Navy. It is also the first book where the Israeli Special Forces, the Sayaret Matkal, gets directly involved with South African Special Forces directly under her command. This will happen again in GMJ10 Code Name Honey Bee and the current GMJ Book (almost done) Code Name Devorah or GMJ11.
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations in sub-Saharan Africa, a military historian and published author of more than 50 books. In the GMJ Series, you will learn about Covert Operations, Special Forces techniques, current political analyses and military history not known outside the select few. Every GMJ Book is based on historical fact and often what is revealed in a GMJ Book is published by the mainstream media a short while later. Many of the GMJ Books are used as training material by Police Forces (SWAT) across the world. Note please that GMJ does not claim to have served in South African Army or Police Special Forces.