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.
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in sub Saharan Africa, a military and war historian and published author of 43 books. His late wife was an American Patriot that served with the U.S. Navy. His books are widely read among military veterans of many nations.