Maxim Gunn, one time agent with the ultra-secret British Government department simply known as The Organization. When he resigned from the British Secret Service – that didn’t go down too well – those who knew him doubted his retirement would be peaceful. They were right. A man with his reputation wasn’t likely to be left alone. Gunn is the quiet stranger who rides into town and lands in the middle of a fire fight. He never asks for trouble. Trouble asks for him, by name. The stories are not a litany of mindless violence, not every scene is a hail of bullets and action. Maxim Gunn thinks and feels. He is a human being, not a mindless robot programmed with an itchy trigger finger. And, Maxim Gunn has a twist. Not always arch criminals, but a computer controlled demon, survivors from Atlantis, hostile aliens, and even the infamous Leopard Men are all in a day’s work for this suave and elegant ex-agent. And the list goes on, almost mind boggling in scope. Maxim Gunn is different.
The Gunn stories are also light-hearted in the same vein as the earlier Saint adventures. There’s also a touch of throwback to the more romantic times, and are a little evocative of the style of John Buchan and H. Rider Haggard. Think of “The Thirty-Nine Steps”, and “King Solomon’s Mines”. These are not gritty, hard-bitten stories, but entertainments. Sure, people die and there are some nasty things happening, but they had it coming and what would an adventure be without something nasty in the woodshed?
Gunn was born in 1970, and unlike a lot of other heroes, he ages throughout. He’s now 44, but then Bond would be a doddering 90+ if he hadn’t been dipped in the fountain of youth. Gunn’s father was a Paratroop Regiment officer who was killed in the Falkland Island war, and, unknown to many – but now all of you – he is directly descended from Rudolph Rassendyll and Queen Flavia of Ruritania of “Prisoner of Zenda” and “Rupert of Hentzau” fame, so the rumours of Rassendyll’s death were grossly exaggerated.
Also, what is not generally known is that the fictionalized account by John Buchan titled “The House of the Four Winds”, which takes place in a country called Evallonia, did in fact take place more or less as Buchan relates. Evallonia is substituted for Ruritania, and the mysterious and colourful character of Randal Glynde is generally believed to have been Maxim Gunn’s grandfather, Charles Gunn. The facts may never be known.
The first mention I can find of Gunn’s origins is a short paragraph on one Hugo de Gunne in a little-known biography of Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. So it seems his family has been involved in one way or another in the dangerous game of counter espionage, for quite a long time.
So much for Gunn’s background, except to say he is independently wealthy, lives in Clarges Street in Mayfair in London – now that’s expensive real estate – and drives a Maserati Quatroporte Sport GTS.
So where did Gunn start, where is he, and where is he going? Well, after finishing university and getting a First in modern languages, the first recorded operation he undertook for The Organization was “The Chaos Project”. And after that there are another seven in print, ending, so far, with “Sheba’s Necklace”.
But right now there’s the ninth in the series completed in draft, called “The Assassins”, a tenth on the stocks being totally revised by that expert on all things noire, action adventure and detective, David Vineyard, who has also done some great reviews at http://bit.ly/MZmpA and http://bit.ly/40RXEg
And just down the pike there are plans to send Gunn into the Amazon jungle after a “lost” friend. Yes, I know, a little touch of the hopeless search for the obsessed explorer Percy Fawcett, and a salute to David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z”.
After that, who knows? There are probably another 20 titles on the list; some of which will probably actually get written, so keep your eyes peeled if you like what you’ve seen so far.
It’s all very well to have a straight line story featuring the hero alone, but you’ve got to keep an eye on the peripherals, the secondary characters; watch what’s happening at the edges. Stick to the straight and narrow, blinkered and oblivious, and you’ll get boring and miss the point as often as not. It’s the side issues and those secondary characters that are as exciting and important as the main ones.
Coincidentally a couple of these secondary characters have morphed into main characters of their own in two planned spinoff series: But more about them another day.
Where can you get this great series of adventures?
Well, they’re on Smashwords and its many affiliates (Sony, Apple, Barnes & Noble among them to name just a few, so you can download them to whatever device you like) http://bit.ly/bOZy6p
Also on Amazon as paperbacks and in Kindle format, http://amzn.to/T7vUmR and:CreateSpace http://bit.ly/JpfKrY.
And as a wonderful surprise and bonus, I was totally thrilled when Kent introduced me to Tommy Hancock, the ultra-enthusiastic gung-ho Editor in Chief of Pro-Se Productions, and he offered me a contract to publish the existing books under his own imprint: the first six in two omnibus editions of three stories in each. Well, three for the price of one ain’t bad, and you can find those on the same Amazon and CreateSpace links above.
As an aside, just in case there’s a producer or director, or megastar reading this, the first three have screenplays already written. If you send Kent an email, I’m sure he’ll forward it to me. Now wouldn’t that be something?
Thanks so much, Nick, for doing this post! I wish you the very best with Gunn and pals. Also a thank you to Tommy Hancock for doing what 7R could not. I bet he’s not going to be disappointed!
Readers, if you like great pulpy spy-ey, monster-slathering goodness in your entertainment reads, you just might want to check those above links out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.