10 Things You Didn’t Know about The Last Finesse
- Coincidentally with when I finally started to understand about nuclear energy, I also focussed on the fact that visionary people typically “loved” my first novel, Beyond Neanderthal and practical people typically could take it or leave it. The Last Finesse was conceived as a story about nuclear energy. It was aimed at and crafted to appeal to this latter group.
- The more nuclear-related information my research unearthed, the more “up close and personal” I got to see the lack of ethical behaviour that pervades society – in the media, in politics, in banking and in the energy industry, amongst others. I decided to craft the storyline to address this particular issue also. In this way, like Beyond Neanderthal, The Last Finesse’s storyline evolved along with my research.
- Luke Sinclair has a personality profile that is a mixture of characteristics that I or one or other of my friends had when we were his age, or that I admired, but I also added one or two less attractive characteristics that make him an imperfect – and believable – human. I decided not to use my own imperfections because that would have gotten me into trouble at home. I am not a playboy womaniser, and neither were any of my friends – so I was “safe”.
- Katarina Marchetti was modelled on an ex girlfriend of mine from my distant youth. Although she had very attractive Slavic features, she looked nothing like Katie, who was more “sultry Italian”. My ex girlfriend was brilliant, spoke 7 languages, and, like Katie, was both mischievous and adventurous. Also, like Katie, she was the daughter of a mega-wealthy man and the way he treated her was much the same “my way or the highway” way that Katarina’s father treated her. Katie also had the same over-the-top bravado that masked a sense of vulnerability. Few people would have noticed this, but it was the vulnerability that I found attractive; that, and the fact that she had a front-foot sense of fun about her.
- “There have been no deaths directly attributed to radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster” (Wikipedia). Notwithstanding, the media is still full of hysterical fear mongering about “possibilities”. The earthquake and the resulting tsunami that together destroyed or partially destroyed over 375,000 buildings and caused over 15,000 deaths have been long forgotten by those outsiders still screaming about nuclear fallout. The Last Finesse takes a high level look at this remarkable propensity of the media and others to selectively process information. Did you know that the earthquake was the fifth most powerful earthquake in the world (9.0 on the Richter scale) since modern record-keeping began in 1900?
- The name The Last Finesse arose from my personal preference to solve problems collaboratively. Solution by confrontation is less constructive and less durable than finessing a solution that is acceptable to all interested parties. In my view, nuclear can never be “forced” on those who live in democratic countries and who are predisposed to apply prejudicial thinking to the subject. This last sentence contains an irony, because that is not how the book itself is presented. You will need to read the book to understand the irony.
- In order to write the scene at The Rocks in Sydney, I spent many hours casing the joint and taking notes. The dishes that Katie and Luke ordered from room service were on the actual menu of an actual hotel.
- The navy and maritime related information was derived from several conversations with a very helpful Lt. Philip Beaver, kindly facilitated by Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair (retired), with whom I subsequently played golf a couple of times. Luke’s surname was by way of a respectful hat-doffing thank-you to Peter. If you want to write a believable novel, in my view, you may as well ensure that you don’t talk nonsense about subjects that you don’t know squat about.
- The Last Finesse was edited twice – once by my editor and once again by me. I was uncomfortable with her preference to turn Luke into a vegan, even though we had agreed to this in discussions because she had sound reasons to do so, given the storyline. But I was happy to leave Katy as a vegan and for Luke to respect that.
- The ultimate reason that I wrote The Last Finesse was that I am convinced the Global Financial Crisis was caused by declining net annual energy output per capita, across the entire planet, since the 1980s. There is a concept called “Energy Return on Energy Invested” (EROEI) that has not yet caught the mainstream media’s attention. If we do not address this challenge of a globally falling weighted average EROEI – and soon – the world economy will remain languishing because net energy output will in all probability continue to fall. Frankly, in terms of recent research, if we haven’t started to reverse the trend within ten to fifteen years, the global economy may continue to spiral downward and may never recover because net energy output can be expected to fall precipitously once critical EROEI evels have been passed. Fracked gas will only help us keep a holding pattern. Solar and wind have both EROEI and continuity challenges. Nuclear has the highest EROEI of all energy paradigms and, relative to coal, it is far less threatening to the environment. Beyond Neanderthal and The Last Finesse are my humble attempts to address the 7 core issues threatening humanity (in particular, this declining net energy output per capita) via the media of their entertaining storylines.
In the global corridors of power, a group of faceless men is positioning to usurp control of one of the world’s primary energy resources: uranium. Climate change looms large. Luke Sinclair is a young, Australian-born professor of mineralogy and an expert in the nuclear-fuel cycle. Up to now, he’s led a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle.
But things change: renegade North Korea is about to transfer its illicitly acquired nuclear-weapons technology to Myanmar. The CIA wants to block the development. It enlists the aid of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. ASIS commandeers Luke, who quickly discovers there are wheels within wheels. Who has the real power? Who are his real friends? Is the attempt to corner the nuclear market ‘The last finesse’ of the faceless men who are so fixated on their personal goals they’ll risk a planetary cataclysm? Has ethical behaviour become merely an anachronism in the 21st Century gladiatorial arena?
The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.
About the Author:
In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.
Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.
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Genre - Conspiracy Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
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