Posts Tagged ‘The Invisible Enemy’

The Invisible Enemy:Black Fox by Anthony R. Howard

In Book Reviews on July 25, 2013 at 2:41 am

Put this book on your to-do-list for summer reading. After watching this summer’s hit movie “White House Down”, I was ready for more action-packed suspense. Author Anthony R. Howard accomplishes this in his book. With the news of Osama bin Laden’s death many Americans are feeling at risk,  the story gets underway with a  spell-bounding look into the world of  secret spies and espionage.

As a technology specialist and Dept of Defense insider for over 10 years, Howard reveals these secrets in his book, including new once-classified weapons systems, and real secret government agencies  that are unknown to civilians.

The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox, gives you a ringside seat to the game, and also goes play-by-play into how assignments like this are executed. As oppose to more classic stories of good guy versus bad, information security risk is  now the new modern-day action-pack horror story and is sure to rouse your interest.

Author Q & A

Intelligence Age: Who’s the main character? Tell us how you developed the main character? What can you tell readers about the main character that is not in the book?

Anthony R. Howard: The main character is a defining moment in a way. I am breaking the traditional glass ceiling that African American fiction writers have faced. The glass ceiling says that African American fiction writers can ONLY write about certain topics, and can ONLY write inside a specific genre of gospel, drama, and urban literature. There are certainly African American characters in my book; however there are characters of all races in the book that readers will certainly be able to identify with. The image on the cover represents a certain powerful character in the novel. Note the characters age. Not only is it different, but he almost looks too young to be hold a gun, especially with the amount of solidarity and indifference portrayed in the image. This particular character is extremely special. He is shrouded in mystique and is one of the characters the reader becomes connected to once the doors open. He’s not even really American. I don’t want to give away any more than that.
Intelligence Age: From the reviews on Barnes and Nobles and elsewhere, it seems you’ve drawn not only the spy novel reading crowd, but you’ve pulled from other genres. How have you managed to touch readers who traditionally do not read spy novels?
Anthony R. Howard: Because from what the readers tell me it’s a great book and an easy read. It’s filled with action, suspense, mystique, intrigue, deception, mystery, romance and even fellowship. The action starts in the beginning and grabs even the folks who don’t read that much. The book is also written for most ages, including junior high school students, yet it challenges each reader. There are adult themes that the younger readers may not pick up on, but in contrast, I present some younger themes some adults might not pick up on. Certain characters represent certain motifs as well. Adults who have not read a book since high school have picked up the Invisible Enemy and read it from cover to cover. Then they wanted to know more. I was fortunately able to entertain and educate by picking a topic the Hollywood has not touched before. No story like this exists anywhere. I checked as I’m a spy novel fan myself. Spy movies have been done. Spy novels have been written, but never a technology thriller exposing the real threats of America and what goes on behind the scenes. No story has posed the hard questions to the reader, and then answered them. No story dives deep into how spies are trained, recruited, how the Dept of Defense will exterminate a serious threat, or how lines must be crossed and rights are violated in order to ensure the safety of Americans. The reader even realizes how back-door decisions made decades ago by the government can come back to haunt us, and allies can become enemies overnight. It’s cool to talk about the black and the white areas. I bring the reader into the gray area, where ethics, the constitution, privacy laws, and due process can fall by the wayside when it’s time to knuckle down.

Intelligence Age: Folks are talking and blogging about The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox. Your book has been compared many times to the hit series TV “24”. Do you agree with your audience? What do you think of such comments and how do they make you feel?

Anthony R. Howard: I take these comments as a compliment. I haven’t seen this year’s season of 24, so I can’t fully interpret some of the commentary, however The Invisible Enemy was created and copy written in the library of congress far before “24” was even aired. I’ve seen other seasons and it’s a great show. To be compared to it is an honor. I keep the action moving in my writing to entertain, and keep readers on the edge of their seats. I also feel it makes the show more interesting when you talk about current events like cyber warfare and international treaties and regulations, just as 24 does. On the other hand, I feel my work is different from 24‘s Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran because they are confined to the rules of Hollywood. I am not. For instance, in the world of Hollywood, you generally don’t take time out to explain how real technology works. It’s very complex in some cases, and many TV watchers would get lost. So in turn Hollywood will make up completely fake technologies, false terms and tech words and phrases that don’t mean anything or make any sense, just to simplify things. I don’t do that. I explain the technology in a way that the readers can enjoy and understand, then during the action I teach how the technology is used – for good or for evil. Hollywood also has to be extremely politically correct when it comes to matters of politics. 24 decided to make up a completely fictional counter terrorist entity “CTU”, so they wouldn’t have to worry about causing ripples with any agency. It dulls the story to some, especially folks who work within that realm. I do not have to be politically correcting in my writing. I can simply speak on my experiences, and let the reader make the choice of whether this entity or this technology is a good thing or bad thing. Instead of introducing fictional organizations, I introduce real agencies that do exist, but no one has ever heard of because the organizations were extremely classified for so long. Hollywood generally won’t show these entities for a variety of reasons. One of them being it would take too long to explain the organization, its function, its politics, and why it exits. I’ve found a way to show the reader these dynamics through the action in the book and through the dialogue. This excites a lot of readers and makes my book different. In Hollywood it’s easier to take an agency people already know, or make up your own rules along the way like “CTU”. Another difference is Hollywood is generally going to conform to stereotypical roles to make things familiar. The term is sometimes called “bounded rationality”. It’s a behavioral theory term which basically means “the human brain will only process what it understands.” This is of course does not affect how real life works. In real life because a person or country does not know about a technology or does not have a technology, does not make the technology unreal. So I can break all of Hollywood’s rules and I like it. It creates different deeper plot-line, mysterious, non-stereotypical characters, and really intriguing themes. Hollywood also can not kill the “star”, and the audience knows it. So you begin each show of 24 knowing that Jack Bauer, the hero, is going to without a doubt escape any peril he is in. We just enjoy watching it happen. He becomes immortal in a way, because every man, woman, and child watching 24 knows that jack is not going to die. He is also is able to take on armies of men armed with machine guns against his lone pistol. These types of things don’t go on in The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox. All of the characters are mortal. Someone the reader thinks is a main character can die in an instant as in real life. Anything can happen. I want the reader on the edge of his or her seat at all times. My plots are purposefully unpredictable. I want the reader engaged until the very last page. I don’t want the “okay I know he survives I just want to see how,” type of environment. I also don’t use the typical Hollywood model of protagonist versus Antagonist. The lines of these war games are completely blurred. Without knowing it the reader might find him or herself aligning with a character they once perceived as an antagonist. One book review said it best “It was also fascinating how the author turns the antagonist into the protagonist without even the reader realizing it until a very powerful and unexpected scene I’ll never forget.” I like those kinds of reviews because it lets me know I’m doing my job as a writer.
Intelligence Age: What prompted you to write this book?

Anthony R. Howard: Traditionally African American fiction writers have been unceremoniously held inside of a box with three sides: urban, drama, and gospel. The box has now been shattered in a major way with The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox, written by a Department of Defense and Homeland Security insider. As the first African American spy novel writer, I wanted to create a thriller that engages the audience with unknown government agencies, new technology, espionage, and of course a new way of looking at the spy game and how it affects everyone. It cultivates the mind of the reader and takes them to places they’ve never been to mentally. One of my goals in writing is to broaden the experiences of my reader community and add to the literary art form. It believes its key to not only present a fascinating story to the reader, but to bring value to the reader aside from entertainment. I believe that’s one of the key differences of my style of writing. Everyone loves to be entertained, so I’m obviously going to do that, and I truly enjoy it. Then a lot of people also value riveting, thought provoking ideas. Topics where you finish the book and want to know more. Motifs that make you want do a bit of web surfing on the topics presented, or maybe dive even deeper. It’s been getting great reviews from readers all over. I’ve also managed to bring a new perspective to the audience. Most spy novels focus on the good guys or sometimes the bad guys. I blur the lines. It’s not simply a good versus evil type of design. The characters are very deep and multi-dimensional and the readers have told me they have found themselves connect to the most unlikely characters.

Intelligence Age: What’s next? (a movie, TV, etc)

Anthony R. Howard: There is a sequel written and it’s available to readers. It will not be in stores like Barnes and Nobles until late 2014 or 2015 timeframe. I placed the sequel available for immediate order on my website because my readers asked for it, and usually I’m inclined to honor their request because I love them and I hope they love me back. Right now a reader, hopefully one who has finished reading the first book can go to http://www.anthonyrhoward.com/book2 and get the sequel, The Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta. There is even a kindle version of it as well. Most folks who read the first book want the sequel. The sequel is a fascinating read as well because I don’t have to “set the table” or introduce characters like I did in the first book. In the first book, The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox, in chapter 2, I slow the action down to give some background on the spies and explanations of technology the reader is likely not familiar with. This is critical because all of my key characters are created with several dimensions. I will never build a house without laying a strong foundation. The foundation is laid in the beginning of The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox, right before the action picks up again in chapter 3. In the sequel, it’s also one roller coaster ride that you don’t want to get off of. I remember one particular critic who was the hardest judge of books I have ever met in my entire life. When he said he couldn’t put it down, I knew I had created something special to honor the first book. In the Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta, though I get a lot of complements on the cover of the book, my focus was certainly what is inside of it. The sequel takes you into a deeper, grittier level of the game. Here you meet mercenaries, aristocrats, secret societies and realize their alarming role in the political infrastructure and the spy game. This book is not for the light hearted either. There are some surprises that will knock your socks off. It’s the perfect sequel to Black Fox, which is a fascinating thriller all by itself. In my opinion, I hope my readers will agree with me, you can’t fully enjoy The Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta without reading The Invisible Enemy: Black Fox. In book signings and events, when readers ask for the sequel, I always ask if they have read the first book. If they say no, I have them get both books and urgently request they read Black Fox first, so they will understand the context and importance of what they are reading in Vendetta.

To get more details about this bestselling author Mr. Anthony R. Howard and his book visit: The Invisible Enemy: Black FoxThe Invisible Enemy II: Vendetta only $2.99